Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Hardesty, Patrick

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Owen, Jesse

Committee Member

Valentine, Jeffrey

Committee Member

Russ, Eric

Author's Keywords

PTSD; Stigma; help-seeking attitudes; evidence based treatments


There are several known barriers that people face that decrease the likelihood of seeking professional psychological help. The present study sought to identify whether certain treatment types for PTSD serve as barriers to seeking psychological help. It specifically sought to identify trauma-focused treatments as potential barriers due to their perception of being emotionally challenging. A survey was administered to 84 respondents. Of the respondents, 41 were randomly assigned to read a treatment protocol for an exposure-based, trauma-focused psychotherapy for PTSD, which 43 were randomly assigned to read a protocol for a trauma-avoidant psychotherapy for PTSD. Measures of attitudes toward seeking help and mental health stigma were then administered, with treatment type serving as two levels of an independent variable. We hypothesized that participants in the trauma-focused condition would subsequently report higher levels of stigma and more negative attitudes toward seeking help. MANCOVA results did not support our hypothesis as both groups were shown to have equal reactions to the protocols. This held true when controlling for four potential covariates: PTSD symptoms, avoidant coping styles, conformity to masculine gender norms, and previous PTSD treatment history. Treatment implications and future directions were discussed.