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Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 1999 Sep;2(3):183-98.

Engagement in child and adolescent treatment: the role of parental cognitions and attributions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208, USA.


Parental engagement in the treatment process is influenced by parents' beliefs about the cause of their children's problems, perceptions about their ability to handle such problems, and expectations about the ability of therapy to help them. This paper examines the role of parental cognitions related to attributions and expectations in relation to engagement in child mental health treatment. Reviewed studies indicate that parental attributions and expectations influence three aspects of treatment: help seeking, engagement and retention, and outcome. This paper integrates findings from developmental and clinical research, highlights gaps in the literature, presents the beginnings of a model regarding the parental attributional process as it relates to engagement in treatment, recommends future research directions, and discusses clinical implications.

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