How racially concordant therapists and culturally responsive online profiles impact treatment-seeking among Black and White Americans.

Recent research has identified various structural and ideological barriers to mental health treatment seeking among Black Americans. However, the ever-increasing role of online sources by which potential clients encounter mental health practitioners remains underexamined. The present study aims to investigate the impact of characteristics in a therapist’s online profile on interest in pursuing treatment among a sample of Black and White Americans. Participants were asked to rate their interest in seeking treatment from a therapist after being presented with vignettes simulating online profiles that either contained an expression of religious inclusivity and a commitment to serving minority groups or did not contain these statements. Black participants reported equal levels of interest in seeking treatment from therapists whether these expressions were included or not. Conversely, White participants expressed lower levels of treatment interest from therapists when these multiculturally sensitive statements were included. Furthermore, more Black participants viewed the race of the therapist as important to their decision-making than White participants. Results of the study suggest that the contents of brief therapist biographies can influence treatment-seeking attitudes. Furthermore, Black and White participants may respond differently to the contents of online profiles when treatment seeking. Practitioner recommendations for the marketing of mental health services are explored. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)