Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of the present thesis was to examine hypotheses involving relationships between severity of problem, social support, and willingness to seek counseling. These hypotheses were as follows: Hypothesis 1: Social support is negatively related to willingness to seek counseling. Hypothesis 2: Severity of problem is positively related to willingness to seek counseling. Hypothesis 3: There will be a stronger positive relationship between severity of problem and willingness to seek counseling at low levels of social support (as compared to high levels of social support). The method of the research involved having 98 college students complete a packet of questionnaires that included a measure of social support and questions about a help-seeking scenario. Severity of problem was manipulated by having some subjects (randomly determined) respond to questions about a scenario involving a high-severity problem and the remaining subjects respond to questions about a low-severity problem. Two indices of willingness to seek counseling were derived from the responses to the questions about the scenarios, an absolute index and a relative (to other helpers) index. The first hypothesis of the thesis received moderate support. Several types of social support as well as overall actual and perceived support were negatively related to relative willingness to receive counseling; however, only one of the measured types of social support were observed to be related to absolute willingness to seek counseling. The second hypothesis received consistent support from the findings in that severity of problem was positively related to both relative and absolute willingness to seek counseling. In examining the third hypothesis, it was observed that as severity of problem increased, students with higher levels of several types of social support and overall actual support were more willing to seek counseling, as indicated by the measure of absolute willingness; this same relationship was not observed for students with lower levels of social support. This difference in findings for students with high vs. low levels of social support was in a direction opposite to that predicted by the third hypothesis.


Richard P. Schellenberg

Date of Award

Fall 1995

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1995 June A. Barger


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