Digitalization of Psychological Help: Factors and Trends (the case of St. Petersburg)

Digitalization of Psychological Help: Factors and Trends (the case of St. Petersburg)

Plutov L.E.

post-graduate student, research laboratory assistant, Resource Center “Center for Sociological and Internet Research”, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Rusakova M.M.

Candidate of Sociological Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Applied and Sectoral Sociology, Acting Director, Resource Center “Center for Sociological and Internet Research”, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Guzeva D.V.

Specialist, Resource Center “Center for Sociological and Internet Research”, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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For citation:

Plutov L.E., Rusakova M.M., Guzeva D.V. Digitalization of Psychological Help: Factors and Trends (the case of St. Petersburg). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 7. P. 53-62


The article discusses St. Petersburg residents’ attitudes and practices to receiving psychological help via Internet. The growth of online psychological help popularity seems to be expected due to accelerated digitalization of Russian society and psychological online services development. The aim of the study is to identify socio-demographic predictors affecting prevalence of distant psychological assistance among St. Petersburg residents. The study was conducted using quantitative strategy; a telephone survey (CATI) was applied (N = 1200). As for data analysis, linear and correlation analysis were applied as well as regression modeling. Findings reveal that the practice of seeking psychological help was widespread (35% of St. Petersburg residents). At the same time, almost ¼ of them received remote assistance. In 2022, a drastic growth of the need for psychological assistance is noticeable. The study showed that the use of digital practices in psychological help is mainly influenced by social predictors: age, presence of minor children, external stigmatization by a social environment. However, the stigmatization phenomenon seems to be ambivalent and cannot be used as a key predictor for the choice of distant assistance. Our conclusions urge further elaboration of factorial study and broader replacement of the stigma concept by more relevant and expanded theoretical models explaining pathways of psychological help seeking.

digital practices; distant psychological help; digitalization; help-seeking factors; stigma


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Content No 7, 2023