Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Social Work in cross-cultural contexts: does seeking and accepting help depend on worldviews?"

University of Groningen - Department of Psychology

PhD Student
Birol Akkus

Prof.dr. T.T. (Tom) Postmes (University of Groningen)
Dr. K.E. (Katherine) Stroebe (University of Groningen)

1 January 2012 - 1 January 2016

NWO - Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research


Migrants of non-western backgrounds (NWM) do not receive the psychosocial and mental health care they need: research suggests that there is a mismatch between the ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ of psychosocial help for NWM. This mismatch is associated with increased mental health risks, and may be a significant factor in understanding responses to domestic violence, delinquency and other serious societal problems within minority groups. We investigate the role of cultural differences in help seeking to explain this mismatch.

We propose that cultural differences in help seeking are based on differences in cultural worldviews: the perceived relation between self and social environment. In certain NW cultures, individuals feel intimately connected with their social network and see their personal life as strongly determined by their environment. These worldviews may determine responses (appraisals, attributions of responsibility, emotions) to negative family related events.

A series of studies will be performed to test our research questions.

1: operationalization of relevant cultural worldviews, and possible responses to negative life events.

2: experiments in which responses of NWM to scenarios of mental health problems and domestic violence are compared with a matched Western control group.

3: field research examining actual responses of NWM mental health patients/victims of domestic violence compared with a matched Western control group.

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