Motivation and emotion/Book/2022/Self-help

What motivates people to engage in self-help?


What is self -help?Edit

According to Schueller et al (2014), Self- help [1] is a range of psychosocial interventions disseminated by providing resources directly to people without professional assistance. These interventions are usually accessible, affordable and understandable and delivered via books, courses, the internet and other technologies.

What motivates people to engage in self -help?Edit

People are motivated to engage in Self-help activities for a variety of reasons including cost, accessibility and a desire to change behavior. Ebert et al (2016) consider that internet-based guided self-help interventions might be an acceptable, effective, and cost-effective treatment alternative for depression and other conditions and they could provide treatment to individuals not reached by traditional therapist driven interventions.

Focus questions:

  • What are the theoretical approaches to self help?
  • What are the different types of self help interventions?
  • Is self help effective?


Suggestions for this section:

  • What is the problem? Why is it important?
  • How can specific motivation and/or emotion theories and research help?
  • Provide an example or case study.
  • Conclude with Focus questions to guide the chapter.

What is self-help?Edit

What sort of interventions are considered self -help?Edit



Web based programs

Other technologies (apps)

Figure 1: Books are a common form of self-help

What types of conditions are addressed by self-help interventions?Edit


Eating disorders

Positive Psychology and mindfulness practices

What motivates people to engage in self -help?Edit


Desire to change behaviours

Lack of stigma

What are the theoretical approaches to self-help?Edit

Fogg Behaviour model (FMB) 2009, three factors influence target behaviour- motivation, ability and triggers (Schueller 151)

How effective are self-help interventions in treating psychological conditions?Edit


Accessible at any time and place

Participants can work at their own pace and easily review materials

At-risk individuals are reached at an earlier stage compared with traditional mental health services, because web-based interventions are more easily integrated into daily life.  (Buntrock et al., 2016)


For some individuals a self-help approach might not be intense enough

Individuals might be overstrained by trying to apply psychotherapeutic self-help strategies.

Some therapeutic techniques could be inappropriately implemented by participants without direct guidance from a therapist (Ebert et al., 2016)

Self-help treatments could lead to a delayed help-seeking, which could result in a further deterioration of symptoms, if the initial low-intensity self-help treatment is not sufficient


Aim for three to six main headings between the Overview and Conclusion.

  Suggestions for this section:

  • For the topic development, provide at least 3 bullet-points about key content per section. Include key citations.
  • For the book chapter, expand the bullet points into paragraphs.
  • If a section has a lot of content, arrange it into two to five sub-headings such as in the interactive learning features section. Avoid having sections with only one sub-heading.

Learning featuresEdit

What brings an online book chapter to life are its interactive learning features. Case studies, feature boxes, figures, links, tables, and quiz questions can be used throughout the chapter.

Case studiesEdit

Case studies describe real-world examples of concepts in action. Case studies can be real or fictional. A case could be used multiple times during a chapter to illustrate different theories or stages. It is often helpful to present case studies using feature boxes.


Boxes can be used to highlight content, but don't overuse them. There are many different ways of creating boxes (e.g., see Pretty boxes). Possible uses include:

  • Focus questions
  • Case studies or examples
  • Quiz questions
  • Take-home messages
Feature box example
  • Shaded background
  • Coloured border


Figure 1. Example image with descriptive caption.

Use figures to illustrate concepts, add interest, and provide examples. Figures can be used to show photographs, drawings, diagrams, graphs, etcetera. Figures can be embedded throughout the chapter, starting with the Overview section. Figures should be captioned (using a number and a description) in order to explain their relevance to the text. Possible images can be found at Wikimedia Commons. Images can also be uploaded if they are licensed for re-use or if you created the image. Each figure should be referred to at least once in the main text (e.g., see Figure 1).


Where key words are first used, make them into interwiki links such as Wikipedia links to articles about famous people (e.g., Sigmund Freud and key concepts (e.g., dreams) and links to book chapters about related topics (e.g., would you like to learn about how to overcome writer's block?).


Tables can be an effective way to organise and summarise information. Tables should be captioned (using APA style) to explain their relevance to the text. Plus each table should be referred to at least once in the main text (e.g., see Table 1 and Table 2).

Here are some example 3 x 3 tables which could be adapted.


Quizzes are a direct way to engage readers. But don't make quizzes too hard or long. It is better to have one or two review questions per major section than a long quiz at the end. Try to quiz conceptual understanding, rather than trivia.

Here are some simple quiz questions which could be adapted. Choose the correct answers and click "Submit":

1 Quizzes are an interactive learning feature:


2 Long quizzes are a good idea:


To learn about different types of quiz questions, see Quiz.


The Conclusion is arguably the most important section. It should be possible for someone to read the Overview and the Conclusion and still get a good idea of the topic.

  Suggestions for this section:

  • What is the answer to the question in the sub-title (based on psychological theory and research)?
  • What are the answers to the focus questions?
  • What are the practical, take-home messages?

See alsoEdit

Provide up to half-a-dozen internal (wiki) links to relevant Wikiversity pages (esp. related motivation and emotion book chapters) and Wikipedia articles. For example:

  Suggestions for this section:

  • Present in alphabetical order.
  • Include the source in parentheses.


Buntrock, C., Ebert, D. D., Lehr, D., Smit, F., Riper, H., Berking, M., & Cuijpers, P. (2016). Effect of a Web-Based Guided Self-help Intervention for Prevention of Major Depression in Adults With Subthreshold Depression. JAMA, 315(17), 1854.

Cavanagh, K., Strauss, C., Forder, L., & Jones, F. (2014). Can mindfulness and acceptance be learnt by self-help?: A systematic review and meta-analysis of mindfulness and acceptance-based self-help interventions. Clinical Psychology Review, 34(2), 118–129.

Ebert, D. D., Donkin, L., Andersson, G., Andrews, G., Berger, T., Carlbring, P., Rozenthal, A., Choi, I., Laferton, J. A. C., Johansson, R., Kleiboer, A., Lange, A., Lehr, D., Reins, J. A., Funk, B., Newby, J., Perini, S., Riper, H., Ruwaard, J., & Sheeber, L. (2016). Does Internet-based guided-self-help for depression cause harm? An individual participant data meta-analysis on deterioration rates and its moderators in randomized controlled trials. Psychological Medicine, 46(13), 2679–2693.

Schueller, S. M., & Parks, A. C. (2014). The Science of Self-Help. European Psychologist, 19(2), 145–155.

  Suggestions for this section:

  • Important aspects for APA style include:
    • Wrap the set of references in the hanging indent template. Using "Edit source": {{Hanging indent|1= the full list of references}}
    • Author surname, followed by a comma, then author initials separated by full stops and spaces
    • Year of publication in parentheses
    • Title of work in lower case except first letter and proper names, ending in a full-stop.
    • Journal title in italics, volume number in italics, issue number in parentheses, first and last page numbers separated by an en-dash(–), followed by a full-stop.
    • Provide the full doi as a URL and working hyperlink
  • Common mistakes include:
    • incorrect capitalisation
    • incorrect italicisation
    • providing a "retrieved from" date (not part of APA 7th ed. style).
    • citing sources that weren't actually read or consulted

External linksEdit

Provide up to half-a-dozen external links to relevant resources such as presentations, news articles, and professional sites. For example:

  Suggestions for this section:

  • Only select links to major external resources about the topic
  • Present in alphabetical order
  • Include the source in parentheses after the link