A Systematic Review of Factors Affecting Migrant Attitudes Towards Seeking Psychological Help

Research indicates that service utilization rates in migrant groups are low, although levels of distress appear high when compared with host populations. This paper systematically reviews quantitative and qualitative literature on factors associated with attitudes toward seeking psychological help among working age migrants. Data were extracted from MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Science Direct and SAGE databases. Eight quantitative studies and 16 qualitative studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The majority of studies were conducted in North America (67%). Although results of quantitative studies were heterogeneous, stronger identification with host than heritage culture, fluency in host country language, psychological attributions of distress, higher educational levels, higher socioeconomic status, female gender, and older age were associated with more favourable attitudes toward help-seeking in some migrant groups. Three major themes emerged from the qualitative literature: logistical barriers, cultural mismatch between service providers and participants, and preferences for other sources of assistance.