Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science, Kinesiology - Athletic Training Concentration

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Tamerah Hunt

Committee Member 1

Megan Byrd

Committee Member 2

George Shaver


The early college years represent a specific period in a student’s life that is crucial for their development. Approximately one in three college students meet the criteria for a mental health problem (Eisenberg et al., 2013). Universities have unique opportunities for identifying risk and delivering prevention or intervention strategies to students in need. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors associated with First-Year University students’ help-seeking behaviors for university-based mental health services. H1: There will be group differences between gender and race/ethnicity on help-seeking behaviors, knowledge barriers of services or providers and perceived stigma. H2: Lower knowledge barriers of services or providers and limited perceived stigma will be associated with a higher likelihood to seek help for mental health. Sixty-seven students enrolled in a First Year Experience (FYE) course completed an online survey to determine their willingness to seek help from university-based sources, their knowledge barriers of services or providers at the university and their perceived stigma towards mental health. A MANOVA was calculated to examine differences between gender and race/ethnicities on help-seeking behavior, knowledge barriers and stigma. Pearson correlations examined relationships between help-seeking, knowledge barriers and stigma. Linear regression examined the influence of knowledge barriers and stigma on help-seeking behavior. The sample was majority Freshman (94.0%), Caucasian (65.7%), Female (59.7%), and in-state (89.6%) students. No significant differences existed for help-seeking, stigma, and knowledge barriers when it came to gender (F(2,67)= 1.593,p>0.05) or race/ethnicity (F(4,67)=.935,p > 0.05). A statistically significant correlation existed between stigma and knowledge barriers (r(65)=.533,pp>0.01); therefore, a regression was not performed. Previous literature supports relationships between help-seeking behaviors, perceived stigma, and knowledge barriers. The current study could not corroborate this. Regardless, mental health challenges still pose a threat to university students, and other factors may play a role in help-seeking behaviors. Examining a larger, more diverse sample would better determine the appropriate actions needed to improve awareness of the resources available to their students to aid student safety and success.

Research Data and Supplementary Material