Seeking Help From Everyone and No-One: Conceptualizing the Online Help-Seeking process Among Adolescent Males

Best, Paul; Gil-Rodriguez, Elena; Manktelow, Roger and Taylor, Brian. J.. 2016. Seeking Help From Everyone and No-One: Conceptualizing the Online Help-Seeking process Among Adolescent Males. Qualitative Health Research, 26(8), pp. 1067-1077. ISSN 1049-7323 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Online help-seeking is an emerging trend within the 21st century. Yet despite some movement towards developing online services, little is known about how young people locate, access and receive support online. This study aims to conceptualise the process of online help-seeking among adolescent males. Modified photo-elicitation techniques were employed within eight semi-structured focus group sessions with adolescent males aged 14 – 15 years (n= 56) across seven schools in Northern Ireland. Thematic analyses was conducted within an ontological framework of critical realism and an epistemological framework of contextualism. Informal online help-seeking pathways increased opportunity for social support and reduced stigma but also included loss of control and reduced anonymity. Formal pathways offered increased anonymity but concerns were raised regarding participants’ ability to locate and appraise the quality of information online. A conceptual model of online help-seeking has been developed to highlight the key help seeking pathways taken by adolescent males.

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The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The lead author was funded to undertake this work as part of a Department of Education and Learning (DEL) PhD studentship (UK).


mental health and illness, health behavior, men’s health, health seeking, Internet, qualitative, modified photo-elicitation, Northern Ireland

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Unit for Psychotherapeutic Studies


12 May 2016Published Online
6 April 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

10 Jun 2016 11:53

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2017 08:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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