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EXPLORING IMPACT OF STIGMA AND HELP-SEEKING BEHAVIOURS IN YOUNG
AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM ADULTS
1 | P a g e
Exploring Impact of Stigma and Help-Seeking Behaviours in Young Australian Muslim
Adults
1. Project Description Summary
This research aims to explore the experiences and understandings about the
willingness of young Australian Muslims to engage in seeking mental health therapy. This
research will utilise a mixed methods approach via the application of 3 validated scales, an
open-ended questionnaire and questions on demographics. recruitment is via Facebook,
where participants can access the link that redirects them to the anonymous online survey.
The survey will take approximately 15 minutes. Participants are aged between 18-28 years of
age, Muslim and proficient in the English language. The findings of this study will
contribute to field knowledge of how supporting people form this minority group to engage in
accessing health services in the future, as there is little prior research on this group. Clients
could have positive repercussions in clinical and pedagogical contexts as well as on the
provision of services for this client group.
2. Background
2.1 Literature Review.
A large body of research has investigated stigma and stigma related behaviour. Major
and Brien (2005) have noted a significant increase in the discussion frequency of this
phenomenon. The outcome of their meta-analysis presented two conceptual models which are
worthy of attention for understanding stigma (Bos et al., 2013).
The first model suggested that stigma was not a single phenomenon but consisted of
numerous processes that included labelling, stereotyping, ousting people from within the
community who are not part of it, and the loss of membership by those people who were
subjected to stigmatisation and discrimination (Link and Phelan, 2001). Bos et al., (2013)
proposed a more scientific approach claiming that stigma contained four interrelated
manifestations. These are public stigma, self-stigma, stigma through association, and
structural stigma (Bos et al., 2013).
Research insinuates stigmatisation and discrimination because of mental illness
negatively affect people in general (Lamboy and Saias, 2013), inclusive of both self-stigma
and public stigma. Stigma is the negative attitudes or perceptions that both individuals and
the public have towards something. In most cases, low self-esteem and poor self-efficacy are
the significant sources of mental illness yielding to the condition of stigmatisation (Goffman,
1963). To curb this issue of stigmatisation and mental health issues, it is advisable that
becoming open about it and seeking help decreases the condition (De Rosa, 1988).
Muslims live with fear in their communities due to the beliefs that they would suffer
from discrimination if seeking treatment for mental illnesses due to stigma, self and perceived
as well as help-seeking behaviours (Afattah, 2015). Separate from external stigma, there is
also an internal stigma within the Muslim community (Damghanian & Alijanzadeh, 2018).
Even though facilities are available where people can get mental health treatment, only a few
chose to seek treatment (Zolezzi, Bensmail, Zahrah, Khaled, & El-Gaili, 2017). A study
conducted by Ciftci (2013) suggests that the most common issue leading Muslims to avoid
treatment is stigma. Due to the stigmatisation that Muslims face in their communities, they
tend to avoid being associated with mental facilities. When being diagnosed with a mental

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EXPLORING IMPACT OF STIGMA AND HELP-SEEKING BEHAVIOURS IN YOUNG
AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM ADULTS
2 | P a g e
illness, they avoid taking medication and completing therapy because they are viewed as
outcasts by their fellow Muslims (Crossouard, Dunne, Durrani, & Fincham, 2017).
The forming of a hybrid identity, mixed with western and religious influences has
resulted in underutilisation of services as suggested by Yousaf et al. (2015), the Muslim
populations general trend of not attending therapy and even a consultation with an expert is
due to the widespread level of stigma in relation to even the concept of psychological health
(Alhomaizi et al., 2017).
2.2 Rationale.
The enhancement of mental health care over the years is yet to impact people
choosing not to seek treatment or quitting during early stages. These discrepancies occur as
an effect of several reasons, the most substantial being stigma which hurts the affected as
well as their community. This, in turn, results in inequalities and disastrous outcomes
(Awaad, 2015).
Research conducted on Arabs in Australia concluded that shame of sharing personal
issues with unknowns, due to the stigma associated with it, was the highest factor impacting
the accessing of mental-health services. Self-Stigma of Help-Seeking Scale (SSHS) measured
average levels of self-stigma and found unchanging variants between Arabised and non-
Muslim continents (Vogel et al., 2013).
Almost no research relating to young Australian Muslim adults has been covered in
this area (Sa & A, 2016). As an explorative study, the hope is to understand better what
should be changed, how this change can be made, and how to achieve it best (Corrigan,
2004). Stigma researchers accentuate the need for interventions to be cultural, society based
and integrated (Corrigan, 2011).
A pragmatic method is employed in this research as it serves to combine both a
quantitative and qualitative approach. Through this statistical analysis provides a measure on
the variables, while qualitative gives voice to the participants and a personal account of their
opinion on the research question. In essence, the data increases in richness and allows for
more understanding of the study (Thomas, 2003).
2.3 Main Aims.
The main aims of this research are: (1) to explore the attitudes in the Muslim community
might limit seeking therapy; (2) to understand the relationship between the present stigma (self
or perceived) and the desire of the individual to seek mental health assistance; and (3) to explore
how young Muslim adults in Australia perceive mental health therapy.
2.4 Research Questions/ Hypotheses.
How do young Australian Muslim adults perceive mental health therapy in Australia?
Is there a relationship between the willingness to seek therapy and stigma in relation
to mental health in young Muslim adults?
It is hypothesised that as stigma increases, help-seeking will decrease.
3. Project Design
3.1 Methodological approach.
The research adopts an implicit assumptions strategy on the relationship between the
willingness to seek therapy and stigma about mental health on young Muslims. As, although
not articulated, the muslim community tacitly shy’s away from help-seeking (Ciftci, Jones, &
Corrigan, 2013). A mixed methods approach is utilised based on positivism and
interpretivism principles. The study starts with positivism approach as it helps to gather
information through quantitative data collected and analysed to reveal whether there is a
relationship between Muslim stigmatisation and belief as related to mental health. The
principle presumes that the obtained information is impartial to the immediate root cause of

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EXPLORING IMPACT OF STIGMA AND HELP-SEEKING BEHAVIOURS IN YOUNG AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM ADULTS Exploring Impact of Stigma and Help-Seeking Behaviours in Young Australian Muslim Adults 1. Project Description Summary This research aims to explore the experiences and understandings about the willingness of young Australian Muslims to engage in seeking mental health therapy. This research will utilise a mixed methods approach via the application of 3 validated scales, an open-ended questionnaire and questions on demographics. recruitment is via Facebook, where participants can access the link that redirects them to the anonymous online survey. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes. Participants are aged between 18-28 years of age, Muslim and proficient in the English language. The findings of this study will contribute to field knowledge of how supporting people form this minority group to engage in accessing health services in the future, as there is little prior research on this group. Clients could have positive repercussions in clinical and pedagogical contexts as well as on the provision of services for this client group. 2. Background 2.1 Literature Review. A large body of research has investigated stigma and stigma related behaviour. Major and Brien (2005) have noted a significant increase in the discussion frequency of this phenomenon. The outcome of their meta-analysis presented two conceptual models which are worthy of attention for understanding stigma (Bos et al., ...
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