Describing Parents' Beliefs About the Causes of Mental Health Problems in Youth: Implications for Service Utilization
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Parents have an important role in accessing mental health services for youth. Understanding what factors might enhance or impede this process is critical to engaging more children and adolescents in treatment. Evidence suggests parents’ beliefs about the causes of youth mental health problems likely influence mental health service utilization, though existing research is limited. The current study examined parents’ causal beliefs about youth mental health problems and their impact on factors related to help-seeking and service utilization. A diverse group of parents (N = 417; 36.9% non-Hispanic White; 33.3% Black/African American; 29.7% Hispanic/Latino) completed a series of questionnaires via an online Qualtrics survey. Results indicate that parents believe a multitude of factors contribute to youth mental health problems; however, parents’ causal beliefs did not play as significant of a role in factors related to service utilization as initially anticipated.