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"A qualitative investigation into the perceived benefits and barriers in accessing psychological services amongst first year university students".

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Aim: This study aimed at investigating the perceived benefits and perceived barriers in accessing psychological services amongst 1st year humanities‟ students from University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College). Methodology: Purposive sampling was employed to select the 16 participants in this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. The sample was stratified according to race and thematic analysis was used to analyse data. Results: The findings from this study suggest that the participants do not have sufficient knowledge regarding the purpose of psychological services and the psychologists‟ scope of practice. Gender roles, cultural belief and language were identified as barriers in accessing psychological services. Furthermore, participants indicated that denial, stigma and shame were perceived as indirect threats regarding their decisions to access psychological services and this was most likely the case when their illness had physical symptoms and appeared severe. The majority of the participants preferred other forms of interventions such as traditional healing, ancestral offerings and prayer. However these were dependent upon the participant‟s socio-cultural context. Conclusion: The results from this study suggest that even though the participants are aware of some of the benefits of utilising psychological services they often prefer sources of help that they are familiar with while the perceived barriers served as justification for not utilising these services even when they could easily access them within the university setting.


Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2015.


University of KwaZulu-Natal -- Freshmen -- Psychological aspects., College students -- Psychological aspects., Adolescent psychology -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., College freshmen -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Theses -- Clinical psychology.