Factors contributing to the negation of therapeutic services by emerging adults in a South African university
Van den Berg, Marlene
MetadataShow full item record
This study was informed by a phenomenon observed by a variety of members from the multidisciplinary team at an acute psychiatric facility, where the researcher works daily. It appeared to clinicians as if the individual between the ages of 18 and 25 years was reluctant to engage in therapeutic intervention. The researcher considered current literature and discovered that this phenomenon seems to be globally relevant and an issue in the field of mental health. Emerging adulthood is the developmental phase that occupies the transitional period between adolescence and adulthood. The life phase is an essential developmental phase where an identity is established and skills are acquired to equip the individual through his/her life process. Emerging adulthood is predominantly defined by the individual’s progress to independence and autonomy and the establishment of a personal and societal identity. Developmental tasks include taking responsibility for him/herself, deciding on future career paths and re-evaluating introjected values to form an independent belief system. Literature indicates that emerging adults’ life phase can cause severe distress due to a variety of social and personal stressors. Emerging adults who are enrolled in university often face additional stressors with regards to adapting to campus life, academic pressure and a need to establish themselves within their new environments. A high prevalence and onset of mental health disorders is noted not only in the general emerging adult population, but also in the population of emerging adults who attend university. Despite the increase in stressful experiences the percentage of emerging adults who experience distress is not reflected in the percentage of emerging adults who actually seek and receive therapeutic intervention as a means to manage their distress. As therapeutic intervention is seen as an effective tool in managing distress, the fact that emerging adults negate the help is a clear area of concern. This urged the researcher to closely consider which factors might lead to negation of therapeutic services by the emerging adult. The study was performed at a South African university where students residing in campus residences where approached to volunteer their participation. In total fifteen participants participated in one of three focus groups with the focus on understanding which factors contribute to the negation of therapeutic services by emerging adults. The data crystallised into eleven main themes with different subthemes to support and describe the relevant main theme. The themes clearly emphasised the lack of awareness, pervasiveness of stigmatisation and the internalised beliefs emerging adults have about themselves and therapy that induce help negation. In addressing the issue of help negation in emerging adults this study suggests solutions and actions to the role players involved in the therapeutic intervention of emerging adults that would support the promotion of mental wellbeing and mental health awareness.
- Humanities