Treatment via Television: The Relation Between Watching Dr. Phil and Viewers’ Intentions to Seek Mental Health Treatment

Eric E. Rasmussen, David R. Ewoldsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many people with a mental disorder fail to obtain professional treatment for a diagnosable mental disorder, and some turn to media outlets for diagnosis and treatment recommendations; however, little is known about outcomes associated with exposure to media mental health professionals. We reasoned that exposure to Dr. Phil would be associated with greater intentions to seek mental health treatment for oneself and for one’s child and that this relationship would be serially mediated by higher levels of parasocial relationship with Dr. Phil and greater efficacy beliefs in treating the mental illness of oneself and one’s child. As predicted, frequent viewing of Dr. Phil was associated with higher levels of parasocial relationship with Dr. Phil, which in turn was itself associated with greater efficacy beliefs in treating a mental illness of oneself and of one’s child, which was ultimately related to greater intentions to seek treatment for oneself or for one’s child. The findings suggest that the relationship that develops between media mental health professionals and their audience can encourage intentions to seek mental health treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-619
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2 2016

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