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J Natl Med Assoc. 1988 September; 80(9): 1009–1012.
PMCID: PMC2625853

The Help-Seeking Behavior of Black Americans

A Summary of Findings from the National Survey of Black Americans


In 1977, the National Institute of Mental Health funded the National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA). The NSBA was an omnibus, nationally representative sample (N = 2,107) of adult black Americans that explored numerous issues relevant to black quality of life. One topic that has received much attention is where blacks go for help during periods of crisis. This article provides a brief summary of NSBA findings on the use of informal help, professional help, and insurance coverage. Suggestions for future research directions for those interested in the help-seeking behavior of black Americans are provided.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Fischer J. Negroes and whites and rates of mental illness: reconsideration of a myth. Psychiatry. 1969 Nov;32(4):428–446. [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW, Jackson JS, Bowman PJ, Gurin G. Stress, coping, and Black mental health: preliminary findings from a national study. Prev Hum Serv. 1983 Spring;2(3):5–29. [PubMed]
  • Kessler RC. Stress, social status, and psychological distress. J Health Soc Behav. 1979 Sep;20(3):259–272. [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW. Professional help use among black Americans: implications for unmet need. Am J Community Psychol. 1984 Oct;12(5):551–566. [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW, Jackson JS. Uninsured risk groups in a national survey of black Americans. J Natl Med Assoc. 1986 Oct;78(10):979–983. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW. Seeking professional help for personal problems: black Americans' use of health and mental health services. Community Ment Health J. 1985 Fall;21(3):156–166. [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW, Howard CS. Sex differences in professional help seeking among adult black Americans. Am J Community Psychol. 1987 Aug;15(4):403–417. [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW. Ambulatory medical care among adult black Americans: the hospital emergency room. J Natl Med Assoc. 1986 Apr;78(4):275–282. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Neighbors HW, Jackson JS. The use of informal and formal help: four patterns of illness behavior in the black community. Am J Community Psychol. 1984 Dec;12(6):629–644. [PubMed]

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