Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Wong, Daniel W.

Committee Member

Phillips, Tommy M.

Committee Member

Dooley, Katherine

Committee Member

Morse, David T.

Committee Member

Justice, Cheryl A.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology


Each year, there is an increase in the number of international students pursuing higher education in the United States. These students often experience varying degrees of acculturative stress. International students are however not likely to seek counseling. Stigma has been identified as a major barrier to seeking psychological help. The study explored the relationship between self-stigma, social stigma, gender, and length of stay/residence as predictors of attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help of international students attending Mississippi State University. Results of the study indicated that between self-stigma and gender were statistically significant predictors of international students’ attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. Self-stigma was inversely related to students’ attitudes towards seeking counseling and implied that international students with greater self-stigma were more likely to have negative attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. Mean scores on the attitudes towards counseling scale suggested that some participants were positively inclined towards counseling while others were not. Similarly, mean scores on the self-stigma scale indicated that some participants found the act of seeking help personally stigmatizing while others did not. There were no statistically significant differences between males and females, and their attitudes towards seeking professional counseling. The results indicated that self-stigma might have a greater influence on help seeking as compared to social stigma. It also confirms the research that suggests that gender might play a role in influencing attitudes toward counseling. Limitations of the study, especially with regard to recruitment and mode of data collection, sampling procedures, instrumentation, and other demographic variables were discussed and alternatives explored.



stigma||attitudes towards counseling||International students