Ethnicity as a moderator of how parents' attitudes and perceived stigma influence intentions to seek child mental health services

Erlanger A Turner, Amanda Jensen-Doss, Robert W Heffer
Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology 2015, 21 (4): 613-8

OBJECTIVE: Research has identified several variables that affect utilization of mental health services. However, more could be explored regarding ethnic differences among parents seeking help for their children.

METHOD: In our study, 238 caregivers were recruited from the southern United States to examine ethnic differences in intentions to access child mental health services with the Parental Attitudes Toward Psychological Services Inventory (Turner, 2012) as the primary measure.

RESULTS: Group comparisons indicated that African-American parents reported less positive attitudes and more stigma than European-American or Hispanic-American parents. Moderation analyses found (a) attitudes were associated with a higher level of parental help-seeking intention among European Americans, but not among African Americans or Hispanic Americans and (b) stigma was associated with a lower parent-reported likelihood of help-seeking for Hispanic Americans, but not for European Americans or African Americans.

CONCLUSIONS: Ethnicity deferentially impacts attitudes and stigma associated with seeking mental health services. Public education efforts to increase service use should be tailored toward under-served groups to be more effective.

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