Fictional portrayals of therapy affect attitudes toward mental health treatment
Understanding barriers to adequate mental health treatment, such as stigma and negative attitudes about therapy, can allow professionals to work towards alleviating these factors. This study hypothesized that individuals with higher stigma would have more negative attitudes about mental health treatment, and that individuals exposed to positive fictional portrayals of therapy would have more positive attitudes than individuals exposed to negative portrayals. Correlations and regression analyses were used to analyze survey data from 96 young adults in western New York (M age = 18.8, SD = 0.902). This study found that stigma was negatively correlated with attitudes about mental health treatment. Additionally, individuals who watched positive portrayals of therapy reported being more interested in therapy than individuals who watched negative portrayals. These findings are consistent with previous research and may have important implications for promoting help-seeking behavior and decreasing the treatment gap in North America.