Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations
Diverse populations’ knowledge of mental health and CBT literacy is an important factor to consider when designing and/or implementing interventions across diverse populations or settings. However, little research has empirically assessed mental health literacy in diverse (e.g., ethno-racial minorities, LGBTQ) populations. The present study assessed functional literacy of mental health and CBT in a large (N = 694) undergraduate sample. Participants were 694 students (583 females) aged 18 to 50 years (M = 20.90; SD = 4.67) who largely identified as White (62.5%) and heterosexual (88%). Participants were assessed for accuracy of broad mental health-related knowledge and CBT-specific knowledge using the Literacy of Suicide Scale, Anxiety Literacy Questionnaire, Depression Literacy Questionnaire, and Mental Health Literacy Scale. A series of independent samples t-tests showed that individuals who identified as gay or bisexual demonstrated greater scores on measures of depression literacy; t(658)=-3.58, p < .01, overall mental health literacy; t(641)=-2.91, p < .01, and suicide literacy; t(615)=-3.08, than heterosexual individuals. Nonwhite individuals collectively showed greater anxiety literacy than White individuals; t(680)=-7.55, p < .01. Individuals who self-reported previously experiencing mental illness reported greater overall mental health literacy; t(590)=6.10, p < .001, as well as greater depression literacy; t(605)=7.45, p < .01, and suicide literacy; t(563)=5.01, p < .01. These individuals were also more likely to accurately state the mechanisms of intervention underpinning CBT; t(589)=3.12, p=.01. A series of Pearson product-moment correlations also indicated significant positive correlations between being female and depression literacy (r=.18, p < .01) and anxiety literacy (r=.12, p < .01). Positive correlations were also found between identifying as gay or bisexual and depression literacy (r=.14, p < .01), anxiety literacy (r=.10, p=.01), and overall mental health literacy (r=.11, p < .01). Interestingly, negative correlations were found between being African-American and depression literacy (r=-.30, p < .01), mental health literacy (r=-.27, p < .01), and suicide literacy (r=-.19, p < .01). Likewise, previous experience of mental illness was negatively correlated with depression literacy (r=-.12; p < .01), mental health literacy (r=-.10; p=.02), and suicide literacy (r=-.11, p < .01), though it was positively correlated with anxiety literacy (r=.14, p < .01). These findings indicate that certain minority populations, particularly LGBTQ populations, may demonstrate a higher degree of mental health literacy than non-minority populations. Implications and recommendations based upon these findings are discussed.