Date of Award

Fall 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Gerdes, Alyson

Second Advisor

Saunder, Stephen

Third Advisor

Torres, Lucas


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders of childhood, but despite the availability of several evidence-based interventions, Latino children are more likely than non-minority children to have an unmet need for services related to ADHD. Because parental beliefs about the etiology of ADHD likely influence which services are sought, more research is needed to examine this aspect of help-seeking behavior in order to address the unmet need among Latino families. Specifically, research needs to focus on cultural factors that likely influence parental beliefs about the etiology of child behavior problems. Thus, the goal of the current study was to investigate the role of acculturation and cultural values of familismo, respeto, spirituality, and traditional gender roles in explaining parental etiological beliefs about ADHD in Latino parents. Participants in this study included 74 Latino parents. After watching a video portraying a Latino child exhibiting core symptoms and common functional problems associated with ADHD, parents completed a semi-structured interview that assessed etiological beliefs about the behavior of the child in the video, as well as a demographic questionnaire and measures of acculturation and cultural values. Neither Anglo orientation nor Latino orientation was significantly correlated with biopsychosocial or sociological/spiritual etiological beliefs. Additionally, none of the cultural values were significantly correlated with biopsychosocial etiological beliefs. The cultural values familismo and traditional gender roles were significantly positively correlated with sociological/spiritual beliefs. Exploratory analyses also were conducted to further examine sociological/spiritual beliefs. After controlling for SES, familismo and traditional gender roles accounted for 30.5% of the total variance in sociological/spiritual beliefs about ADHD. Finally, post hoc analyses were conducted to examine individual categories of etiological beliefs. The current study adds to our knowledge about how Latino parents understand child behavior and has important implications for both research and mental health services with Latino parents. The results support the inclusion of etiological beliefs and cultural factors in research examining help-seeking and access to mental health services among Latino families and suggest that the incorporation of alternative etiological beliefs about child behavior may be an important factor in culturally-appropriate mental health services.


This dissertation is available only to users within the Marquette IP range until January 2014.