This """"""""new investigator"""""""" initiated R21, submitted in response to PAR-07-018 """"""""Understanding Health Literacy,"""""""" draws from the mental health literacy literature to initiate a line of research assessing mental health literacy for anxiety disorders. Mental health literacy is defined as """"""""knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention"""""""". (59, p.182) Currently, of the over 40 million Americans with anxiety disorders each year, (63) only 25 percent seek treatment. (48,80,91) Initial data suggest that poor mental health literacy is a barrier to treatment seeking.78,106 Understanding potential barriers to treatment seeking is important given that anxiety disorders are associated with significant distress and interference in social, occupational or school functioning2 and that effective treatments are available.
102 SPECIFIC AIMS : The proposed project addresses three primary aims: 1) to develop and refine a measure of mental health literacy for anxiety disorders, 2) to collect initial data assessing mental health literacy for anxiety disorders from a quota sample of community members throughout the US, and 3) to use the knowledge gained in this project to inform the development of an R01 application to thoroughly assess mental health literacy for anxiety disorders in a representative sample. DESIGN AND HYPOTHESES: An initial draft of the instrument assessing mental health literacy for anxiety disorders will be developed. Four focus groups of 10 members each will then be conducted to explore people's experience with anxiety disorders and elicit feedback on the draft instrument. This information will be used to revise the instrument, and the revised version will then be administered to a pilot sample of 12 respondents via telephone. Next, the final version of the measure will be administered via telephone to a quota sample of 500 participants throughout the US. All participants will be aged 18 to 74 years and either African-American or Caucasian. Both Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino participants will be included. It is hypothesized that the measure developed will have strong psychometric properties and that data from the community sample will reveal low levels of mental health literacy for anxiety disorders. SIGNIFICANCE: We anticipate that the measure of mental health literacy for anxiety disorders developed in this project, and the information gathered, will improve our understanding of knowledge and beliefs of the general public regarding anxiety disorders. This project is thus an important first step in advancing our understanding of potential barriers to treatment-seeking for anxiety disorders and suggesting avenues for increasing service use. Title: Assessing Mental Health Literacy for Anxiety Disorders

Public Health Relevance

In the US, more people have anxiety disorders than any other type of mental illness. Disappointingly, most of these people never get treatment. Therefore, this project will assess what people know and believe about anxiety disorders, as a first step towards developing ways to help people with anxiety disorders seek treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-B (50))
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Rupp, Agnes
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State University of NY, Binghamton
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Schubert, Jessica R; Coles, Meredith E; Heimberg, Richard G et al. (2014) Disseminating treatment for anxiety disorders step 2: peer recommendations to seek help. J Anxiety Disord 28:712-6
Coles, Meredith E; Schubert, Jessica R; Heimberg, Richard G et al. (2014) Disseminating treatment for anxiety disorders: step 1: recognizing the problem as a precursor to seeking help. J Anxiety Disord 28:737-40
Coles, Meredith E; Heimberg, Richard G; Weiss, Barry D (2013) The public's knowledge and beliefs about obsessive compulsive disorder. Depress Anxiety 30:778-85