Abstract 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.
- attitude change
- mental health