Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Nao Hagiwara

Second Advisor

Rosalie Corona

Third Advisor

Kristina Hood

Fourth Advisor

Nicole Corley

Fifth Advisor

Anika Hines


Mental health issues are prevalent among Black emerging adults; however, they tend to underutilize mental healthcare services. The goals of the current study were to examine whether: (1) perceived therapy inclusivity would predict willingness to utilize mental healthcare services and (2) the relationship between perceived therapy inclusivity and willingness would be moderated by two indices of racial identity (i.e., centrality and private regard). Results provide evidence that greater perceptions of therapy inclusivity are associated with greater willingness to seek mental health services even after controlling for factors, such as gender, self-stigma, and previous mental healthcare utilization. Additionally, there was no evidence to suggest that racial identity moderates the relationship between perceived therapy inclusivity and willingness to use mental health services. These findings suggest that Black emerging adults may be more willing to utilize mental health services and engage with the mental healthcare system if they perceive that mental health services are for them. Findings from this dissertation project have implications for clinical practices to increase Black adults’ perceptions of therapy inclusivity. Recommendations include developing trainings about Black people’s experiences in the mental health system, building relationships with Black communities, and providing culturally responsive treatments. The findings also have policy implications. Specifically, structural changes (e.g., increasing Black adults’ representation in clinical staff and leadership) must be made to the mental healthcare system to increase Black adults’ perceptions of therapy inclusivity and willingness to seek care. Such intentional measures will help to create a better, more inclusive system for all Black adults.


© Randl B. Dent

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Date of Submission