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Traditional Chinese Cultural Values and Taiwanese Mothers’ Attitudes towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help: the Role of Emotion Expressivity, Emotion Regulation and Stigma towards Mental Illness



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Chang, Chun-Hou 


Past research consistently found prevalent negative and reluctant attitudes towards seeking psychotherapy or counselling when facing emotional distress among individuals in Taiwanese society. Building on the literature, the underlying mechanisms in the relationship between these attitudes and the uniqueness of Chinese cultural values, especially its influence on views regarding emotional and mental difficulty are valuable to look into. The current study adopted an explanatory sequential mixed methods design to approach how Taiwanese mothers with a Chinese cultural inheritance view professional psychological help and the possible mechanisms underlying the formation of their attitudes. Overall findings suggest that being immersed in the Chinese cultural context does has implication on how Taiwanese mothers see professional psychological help. In phase one, parallel mediation analysis of the survey data suggested that Taiwanese mothers’ cultural inheritance affect their attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help indirectly through mediators including emotion regulatory strategies and stigmatization against mental illness. However, the mediating role of emotion expressivity was not supported, despite being a significant predictor. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of in-depth interviews with 10 Taiwanese mothers in phase two unveiled possible rationales behind the relationships found in phase one along with other imperative contributors. Possible reasons include being at risk of being associated with mental illness and stigmatized if one tries to seek professional psychological help. Being restrained by complex emotion expression rules and habits of using suppression as a regulatory strategy may also be hindrances to positive views of professional psychological help. Complicated emotion expression rules found provide possible explanations of emotion expressivity not being a significant mediator. Overall findings provide future directions for research aiming to better understand attitudes towards professional psychological help in different cultural contexts, and for practitioners and policy makers especially in Taiwan to develop culturally sensitive approaches in advocating professional psychological help for the general public.





Kershner, Ruth
Holliday, Carol


Attitudes towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help, Chinese Cultural Values, Stigma towards Mental Illness


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan) Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange