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Child Youth Serv Rev. 2009 Mar;31(3):378-382.

CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE USE AND MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH: A PATH ANALYTIC MODEL.

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  • 1The George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St Louis, 1 Brookings Dr. Campus Box 1093, St Louis, Mo. 63130, spfefferle@gwbmail.wustl.edu , 314-935-6376, (O) 314-935-7508 (F).

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This observational study explores pathways towards any past year use of child mental health services.

METHODS:

Data from the 2002 National Survey of American Families were used to explore the relationship between past month maternal mental health and past year child mental health services use. Observations were limited to the 8072 most knowledgeable adults who were the mothers of target children aged 6-11. Logistic regressions were performed to determine the odds of any child mental health service use followed by path analyses using Maximum Likelihood estimation with robust standard errors.

RESULTS:

Multiple factors were associated with odds of any child mental health service use. In the path analytic model poor past month maternal mental health was associated with increased aggravation which in turn was associated with increased use of mental health visits. Negative child behaviors as reported by the mother were also associated with increased maternal aggravation and increased service use.

CONCLUSIONS:

Parental perception of child behaviors influences treatment seeking, both directly and indirectly through parental aggravation. Parental mental health influences tolerance for child behaviors. Findings are consistent with other studies. Interventions should address the entire family and their psychosocial circumstances through collaboration between multiple service sectors.

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