George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis
Center for Mental Health Services Research

CMHSR Measures Collection

Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (ATSPPH)

Location: Q3

AUTHOR(S): Fisher & Turner (1970)

Fisher & Turner (1970). Orientations to seeking professional help: Development and research utility of an attitude scale.
    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 35(1), 79-90.

Surgenor, L. (1985). Attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 14,

VARIABLE(S) MEASURED: Attitudes toward seeking professional help for psychological disturbances.

PURPOSES: Designed as a psychometric instrument to measure the dimension of attitudes toward seeking professional help.

The original ATSPPH (Fisher & Turner) included 29 items (18 negatively stated and 11 positively stated items) which consisted of 4 dimensions: recognition of need for psychotherapeutic help (8 items), stigma tolerance (5 items), interpersonal openness (7 items), and confidence in mental health practitioner (9 items). Surgenor (1985) later added 5 statements which represented psychological counselling as a vehicle for promoting personal growth for the use of the scale in the context of New Zealand.

SUBJECTS: General population. The scale has been used in student populations and non-student New Zealand populations.


The responses were arranged in a 4-point Likert format: a high score (maximum=87) indicated a more positive attitude.

Internal consistency: Factor I (need), r=.67; Factor II (stigma), r=.70; Factor III (openness), r=.62; and Factor IV (confidence), r=.74. For whole scale, r=.83.

ATSPPH discriminated significantly on an empirical (“known-groups”) basis-- between those who have experienced prior contact and those who have not (for males, p<.001; for females, p<.0001).

COMMENTS: The measure is on file.

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