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Barriers to academic help-seeking: the relationship with gender-typed attitudes

Brown, D., Barry, J. A. & Todd, B. ORCID: 0000-0003-0098-5623 (2020). Barriers to academic help-seeking: the relationship with gender-typed attitudes. Journal of Further and Higher Education, pp. 1-16. doi: 10.1080/0309877x.2020.1774049


In recent years, male students at UK schools and universities have been falling behind their female peers in academic achievement. Previous studies have shown that male students are less likely than female students to seek academic help, but have not investigated the relationship between gender-typical attitudes and reluctance to seek academic help. In the present study, 162 students at six UK universities completed the Help-Seeking Scales and the Traditional Gender Script Questionnaire. Data from this survey were analysed using MANOVA and multilple linear regression. The main findings were that reluctance to seek help was predicted by higher scores on the masculine gender script subscale Mastery and Control of feelings for both male (β =.448, p <.01) and female students (β = .497, p < .001). For male participants, being a Fighter and a Winner also predicted reluctance to seek help (β = −.322, p < .05) whereas, for female students, greater help-seeking was associated with more interest in creating Family Harmony (β = −.272, p < .05). These findings suggest that the help-seeking behaviour of both male and female students is related to specific gender-typical attitudes. We suggest that awareness of these attitudes can serve to inform educational practice by facilitating access to academic assistance and encouraging all students to seek academic help.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Further and Higher Education on 01 July 2020, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Academic help-seeking, learning goals, gender scripts, gender role strain
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
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