Syllabus Tone, More Than Mental Health Statements, Influence Intentions to Seek Help
Author / Creator
Gurung, Regan A. R.; Galardi, Noelle R.
Teaching of psychology, 2022, Vol.49 (3), p.218-223
Mental health issues are increasing in higher education and finding ways for students to get help when needed is important.
We tested if the tone of a short syllabus and the presence of a special statement addressing mental health would increase intentions to approach instructors for help.
We used a 2 (Tone: warm vs. cold) × 2(Statement: present vs. absent) experimental design. Participants (N = 257) read one of four, two-page syllabi, and rated intentions to reach out for help and the instructor.
We found a main effect for tone on three Reach Out statements and ratings of the instructor. Presence of the statement influenced likelihood to reach out for help with personal problems.
Both the tone of a short syllabus and the presence of statements normalizing reaching out for help can influence student intentions to contact instructors for help.
Writing a warm toned syllabus and addressing stress and mental health with a university statement may increase student’s intentions to ask for help.