Health trends among freshmen entering college indicate that 2-year college students are especially vulnerable to engaging in risky health behaviors, yet many do not seek help. There was a need to more directly assess those who use college health services and factors that enable them to seek help when others do not.
The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with help-seeking among two groups of first-year community college students: those who utilized the student health center and those who had not.
This study used a cross-sectional study design to examine differences between first year community college students who had either used the student health center (n=100) or had not (n=100). A survey was developed to assess the following seven study variables: perceived distress, resources used, perceived barriers to help-seeking, self-esteem, comfort in seeking help, self-efficacy for help-seeking, and outcome expectations related to help seeking. Demographic variables were also assessed. Surveys were distributed and completed in general education and guidance classes at Riverside Community College.
Findings indicated that those with higher efficacy beliefs were more likely to seek help in the student health center (SHC) (OR=2.433, 95% 0=1.092-5.425, p<.03). Males were less than half as likely as females to utilize the SHC (OR=.467, 95% Cl =.240-.909, p<.03). Those who used resources in the past year were somewhat more likely to use the SHC (OR=2.207, 95% Cl =.939-5.189, p < .07). Overall, the greater the number of problems a student experienced, the greater their level of feeling troubled (r=.915, p<.001) and the more likely students were to seek help from any source (r=.489, p<.001). However, students who experienced a great deal of problems (30+ out of a total of 50) rarely, if ever, used SHC. The more comfortable students were in seeking help, the higher their efficacy beliefs for seeking help in the future (r=.602, p<.001) and the higher their positive outcome expectations about seeking help (r=.364, p<.001).
This study identified characteristics associated with a greater likelihood of help seeking at the SHC among students at a community college. Based on this information. college administrators can design their health service and education programs to enable more students to seek needed services. Encouraging students to address problems through seeking help in the student health center may improve overall health status. Further research is needed to examine characteristics of highly distressed first-year community college students who did not use the SHC.
School of Public Health
Helen Hopp Marshak
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Student Health Services; Health Behavior; Self Efficacy; Adolescent Health Services.
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Smith, Patricia A., "Characteristics of Help-Seeking Among First-Year Community College Students" (2004). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 941.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives