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Preferences for online mental health services among Australian and Indian samples: a cross-cultural comparison
journal contributionposted on 2018-12-01, 00:00 authored by David AustinDavid Austin, P Bhola, C Tebble, Kerrie Shandley
© 2018, National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India. Online mental health services provide a point-of-access to mental healthcare that may otherwise be unavailable or limited, particularly in developing countries. Nevertheless, there is a lack of research into individual differences between those who prefer online mental health services and those who prefer traditional in-person services, and whether these differences vary as a function of culture. This study investigated differences in preferences for online or in-person mental health services on e-health literacy, age, education level, and comfort using the internet in a general community sample recruited from Australia and India. A total of 487 participants (31.6% male; mean age = 33.55, SD = 12.20, range 18–78), 297 Australians and 190 Indians, completed an online or paper-and-pencil survey. A significant negative relationship between age and e-health literacy was found with younger ages associated with higher e-health literacy. Furthermore, e-health literacy scores were significantly higher for the Australian sample. Age, e-health literacy, country-of-residence, education level, and comfort in using the internet did not predict mental health service preference. The results suggest that preference for in-person or online mental healthcare is independent of demographic and cultural factors and indicate that online mental health services may be acceptable to Indian health service consumers.