The application of the theory of planned behavior to help-seeking intention in a Chinese society

Hio Wa Mak, J. Mark Davis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: This study tested the efficacy of Ajzen's theory of planned behavior (TPB) in explaining intention to seek mental health services and compared the traditional TPB model with a TPB partial mediation model. It also aimed to understand factors related to intention to seek mental health services in Macao to inform local policies.

    Method: The present study consisted of two phases: (a) a pilot study to develop belief-based measures used in the main study, and (b) a cross-sectional study to investigate the application of TPB in understanding help-seeking intention. In the main study, 337 Macao residents (age range 18-65) participated in a survey conducted in the community.

    Results: The TPB partial mediation model was better than the traditional TPB model in explaining help-seeking intention in Macao. The model also suggested that attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control were all significant predictors of help-seeking intention. However, symptom severity, prior help-seeking, and gender did not significantly directly predict help-seeking intention.

    Conclusion: Preference for the TPB partial mediation model may be culturally relevant. The implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the salient beliefs about help-seeking. Limitations and recommendations for future research are provided. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1501-1515
    Number of pages15
    JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
    Issue number9
    Early online date14 Nov 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


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