Cross-national study of attitudes towards seeking professional help: Jordan, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Arabs in Israel

Alean Al-Krenawi, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
John R. Graham, University of Calgary
Yasmin Z. Dean, Zayed University
Nada Eltaiba, Al-Balqa Applied University


Background: Help-seeking processes provide critical links between the onset of mental health problems and the provision of professional care. But little is known about these processes in the Arab world, and still less in transnational, comparative terms. This is the first study to compare help-seeking processes among Muslim Arab female students in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Aims: The present study compares the attitudes of Arab Muslim female students from Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) towards mental health treatment. Method: A convenience sample of 262 female Muslim-Arab undergraduate university students from Jordan, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Arab students in Israel completed a modified Orientation for Seeking Professional Help (OSPH) Questionnaire. Results: Data revealed that nationality was not statistically significant as a variable in a positive attitude towards seeking professional help; year of study, marital status and age were found to be significant predictors of a positive attitude towards seeking help. High proportions of respondents among the nationalities referred to God through prayer during times of psychological distress. Conclusions: The discussion considers implications for professional service delivery and programme development. Future research could extrapolate findings to other Arab countries and to Arab peoples living in the non-Arab world. Copyright © 2004 Sage Publications.