Facebook Use as Access Facilitator for Consulting Psychology

Giada Pietrabissa, Gian Mauro Manzoni, Davide Algeri, Luca Mazzucchelli, Alice Carella, Francesco Pagnini, Gianluca Castelnuovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The current study aimed to examine the reasons that lead individuals to seek online psychological consultations instead of in-person assistance, and to explore the effect of a single 30-min Facebook chat conversation in increasing willingness to ask for professional help. Methods: A total of 284 participants attended a brief Facebook-based psychological consultation. Of these patients, 259 individuals completed a baseline survey questionnaire. Second and third survey questionnaires were also administered at the end of the consultation and at 1-month follow-up, respectively. Results: Primary reasons for joining the Facebook chat consultation were the need for immediate psychological support and service convenience. Almost half of the respondents had sought psychologist assistance at least once in the past. Depression was the most reported psychosocial impairment. The average initial level of motivation required to seek in-person psychological support was high, while online consultation was preferred by a greater number of respondents. At 1-month follow-up, the majority of the respondents who had accessed the Facebook consultation stated that they had asked for psychological support, mostly preferring a private in-person therapist. Conclusion: Facebook represents an effective way to overcome barriers that hinder access to mental health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-303
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Chat support
  • Consulting psychology
  • Facebook
  • Mental health
  • Online therapy
  • Social networking services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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