The bolstering effect of conceptual priming on psychological help-seeking attitudes in men

O Yousaf, A Popat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:- It is a well-established finding that men are often unwilling to engage with mental health services, and that they hold negative attitudes toward psychological help-seeking. Consequently, men's psychological problems often remain untreated, which in turn can compromise their quality of life. Aims:- The present experiment addresses this problem using a conceptual priming paradigm from social psychology called Scrambled Sentence Test as an intervention to change men's negative attitudes toward psychological help-seeking. Method:- The Scrambled Sentence Test works by asking participants to unscramble sentences that unbeknownst to them include priming words - in this case, openness and communication-related words. Sixty-nine men completed the task (with priming or control words) under the instructions of a condition-blind experimenter. Results:- The primed group showed more positive attitudes (Mdn = 56.5) toward seeking psychological help compared to controls (Mdn = 40.0), p < 0.01; r = 0.38. Conclusion:- The findings are the first to suggest that conceptual priming of this kind can be used an as effective and time-efficient intervention by mental health professionals to encourage men to seek help for psychological problems.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)347-350
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • attitude change
  • help-seeking
  • men
  • mental health
  • priming

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