Problem Statement: Adolescence is a period during which emotional and behavioral problems are increased. Adolescents seek answers for the questions such as “hat kind of person should I be?” Additionally, it is a period in which one undergoes and must adapt to physical changes. Some adolescents are not able to find their way during this difficult period, and parents are often not a large source of assistance. Seeking help, adolescents are likely to approach friends to overcome their problems. However, even if the adolescent asks for help from family and friends, this does not substitute for professional psychological help. For this reason, psychological counselors at schools are important sources for professional psychological help. Research indicates that scales that identify attitudes toward professional psychological help have been developed. However, these scales, unique to Turkish culture, are for university students, not for secondary school students who are in the mid-adolescence period.
Purpose of Study: Seeking psychological help from a professional varies depending upon both age and culture. The aim of this study is to develop a scale, the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help, for Turkish secondary school students (ASPH-S).
Methods: In this study, which was based on a general survey, three different groups were used. The first study group was used for testing the structure determined by explanatory factor analysis (EFA). The first group consisted of 142 female students (42.2%), and 194 male students (57.7%). In this group, the ages ranged from 15 to 18 and the mean age was 16. The second study group was used for testing the structure determined by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). This group consisted of 350 students [200 females (57%) and 150 males (42.9%)]. The mean age was 16 (Range = 14-18). The third study group was used for retesting the reliability level of the scale. This group consisted of 150 students [83 females (55.3%) 67 (44.6%) males] and the mean age was 16.
Findings:As a result of the explanatory and confirmatory factor analyses that were carried out to identify the psychometric characteristics of the scale, three factors were derived: “confidence toward psychological help,” “closeness to psychological help,” and “negative beliefs toward counselor and processes.” At the end of explanatory factor analysis, the factor loadings of 15 items in three dimensions varied between .54 and .76. These three dimensions explained 53% of the total variance. The three factor scale model made for ASPH-S was tested by confirmatory factor analysis. Fit indexes that were obtained from the results of confirmatory factor analysis were found as follows: RMSEA (0.062), SRMR (0.050), GFI (0.93), AGFI (0.90), NFI (0.96), and CFI (0.98). Obtained results showed that model data adjustment was provided.
Related to the reliability of the scale, the Cronbach alpha coefficient was calculated for internal consistency. Accordingly, the Cronbach alpha coefficient was .85 for the total scale. Consistency levels of the scale were calculated by the test-retest method. A consistency coefficient of .83 was obtained through the test-retest method. The high score from the total scale was the expression (indication) of a positive attitude toward professional psychological help; the low score was the expression (indication) of a negative attitude. It was possible to get a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 75 on the scale. The items numbered 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, and 14 were coded inversely.
Conclusion and Suggestions: The obtained findings related to validity and reliability of the scale indicated that psychometric characteristics of the scale were acceptable. Psychological counselors working in the secondary schools might identify the attitudes of the secondary school students toward professional psychological help by using the ASPH-S. In this way various studies could be carried out to prevent negative attitudes toward professional psychological help.
Keywords: Reliability, validity, seeking help, psychological help, attitude.