The Psychological Problems and Help Seeking Behavior: Assessment Study of the Palestinian University Students in the Northern Area of West Bank

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Adnan Sarhan / Supervisor
Dr. Muna Ahmead / External Examiner
Dr. Ziad Al Arandi / Internal Examiner
Dr. Adnan Sarhan
Asma Abd Al Rahman Mohammed Abu Zaid
Abstract Aim of the Study: The study aimed to assess the psychological problems and help seeking behavior among University first- year students in Northern area of the West Bank. Method: This is a descriptive cross-sectional design adopted for the purpose of this study. Population and sample: The study population consisted of (7000) students from three different Universities (An-Najah, American Arab, Al- Khoudori), a representative convenient sample technique with a percentage of 10% (n=700) was selected from the total sample. All first- year students from the faculties of (Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Master degree) were excluded from the study. Moreover, the study conducted only on the Palestinian Universities in the Northern areas of the West Bank. The sample size was taken by proportional sampling according to the University size, and distributed as (356( from An-Najah National University, 141 from American Arab University and 105 from Al Khoudori University). Instruments: The study utilized three standardized scales in order to measure psychological problems (depression and anxiety), and general help seeking behavior among first year University students in the northern areas of Palestine/West Bank. The three scales are Depression scale: An instrument based on the DSM –IV criteria and was used to measure depressive episode over the past 2 weeks. Anxiety scale: used to measure generalized anxiety. General help seeking scale: An instrument used to measure the future help seeking intention and can access prior help seeking experience. Worth mentioning, that the three scales are published and free to use. The scales used the native language of the study participants (Arabic). Results and Data analysis: the data distributed, collected, and analyzed by using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19. We used mean, standard deviation, the ratio percentage, and Spearman Correlation matrix. Results of the study pointed that majority of the students suffered from anxiety average rate of 82.3% while the proportion of people suffered from high anxiety up to 10.4% compared to those who suffered from a minimum of concern and that's up to 7.3%. It was found in the study that 68.1% of students had a minimum depression and 16% suffered from mild depression and 11% suffered from moderate depression . It was also found in the study that there was a link between anxiety and depression while there was no association between anxiety, depression, and behavior to seek help. The results revealed that, there was a statistical significance differences (α≥0.05) between anxiety and depression and the various colleges and between anxiety and gender female suffered more from anxiety than male and between anxiety, depression and low income of the students families. The study also pointed to the lack of seeking help by the students as they reached the intention to ask for assistance to extremely very low by 17.9% and very low by 39.4% and 24.7% for the low in seeking help, we found that seeking help is low between males more than females. The study found that most of the students ( 80% ) did not seek help from professionals in the field of mental health and only 19.1% of the students seek help in general . Also 9.4% of them were referred to school counselor . Conclusion: The study examined the psychological problems and the help seeking behavior of the first-year students in three Palestinian universities in the nnorthern area of the West Bank. The study found that first-year students suffered from anxiety, depression, and they correlated with each other. There were some variables that affected anxiety like gender, economic situation for example it was found that females suffered from anxiety more than males while low-income had increased anxiety and depression. Also there were no correlation between anxiety, depression with help-seeking behavior and this was a phenomenon that needed to be solved and treated by the mental health professionals to prevent complication of the problem. Key words: Psychological problems, help seeking behavior, ddepression, anxiety, cross sectional, convenient sample, university, sstudents, faculties, Questionnaire, West Bank, episode, statistical package of social science.
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