Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2015 Taylor M. Caldwell
Evidence supporting a range of 6-14 years between mental illness symptom recognition and psychological help seeking has spurred a substantial interest in help seeking barriers. The present study suggests that mind and body dualism, the perceiving of the mind as an entity distinct from the body, is one such barrier to help seeking. Despite the fact that beliefs in mind-body dualism or its opposite, that of physicalism, are evident in virtually all human cultures and religions, surprisingly little is known about the psychological and behavioral implications of holding such beliefs. An exception to this disparity is a study that demonstrated a connection between dualism and decreased engagement in healthy behaviors, such as exercise and eating habits (Forstmann et al., 2012). The aim of the present study was to expand on these findings by investigating the effects of mind-body beliefs and gender on attitudes towards professional psychological help and holistic or alternative medicines. In accordance with my hypothesis, a MANOVA indicated a main effect of gender, such that women felt more positively than men about seeking professional help for their own mental health problems as well as about the general value of therapy for others. A secondary analysis indicated that participants who self-identified as Jewish felt significantly more positive about psychotherapeutic treatment compared to Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist religious groups. Future research should continue to examine the links between mind-body ideologies, religion, culture, and help seeking through a large-scale correlational analysis utilizing naturally occurring mind-body beliefs.
Caldwell, Taylor M., "Dualism, Physicalism, and Professional or Alternative Health Seeking: A Gendered Perspective" (2016). Pitzer Senior Theses. 66.