Determinants of help-seeking behavior in depression: a cross-sectional study

Anke M. Boerema, Annet Kleiboer, Aartjan T. F. Beekman, Kim van Zoonen, Henriette Dijkshoorn, Pim Cuijpers

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Background Although evidence-based and effective treatments are available for people with depression, a substantial number does not seek or receive help. Therefore, it is important to gain a better understanding of the reasons why people do or do not seek help. This study examined what predisposing and need factors are associated with help-seeking among people with major depression. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted in 102 subjects with major depression. Respondents were recruited from the general population in collaboration with three Municipal Health Services (GGD) across different regions in the Netherlands. Inclusion criteria were: being aged 18 years or older, a high score on a screening instrument for depression (K10 > 20), and a diagnosis of major depression established through the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI 2.1). Results Of the total sample, 65 % (n = 66) had received help in the past six months. Results showed that respondents with a longer duration of symptoms and those with lower personal stigma were more likely to seek help. Other determinants were not significantly related to help-seeking. Conclusions Longer duration of symptoms was found to be an important determinant of help-seeking among people with depression. It is concerning that stigma was related to less help-seeking. Knowledge and understanding of depression should be promoted in society, hopefully leading to reduced stigma and increased help-seeking.
Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016


  • Depression
  • Duration of symptoms
  • Help-seeking
  • Stigma

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