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J Behav Health Serv Res. 2002 Feb;29(1):45-60.

Referral sources, diagnoses, and service types of youth in public outpatient mental health care: a focus on ethnic minorities.

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  • 1University of California and Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, Children's Hospital and Health Center San Diego, San Diego, CA 92123, USA.


Racial/ethnic variations in clinical and service delivery characteristics among youth in public outpatient mental health services were examined using data from San Diego County mental health service programs for fiscal year 1996 to 1997 (N = 3,962). Differences in referral sources, primary diagnoses, and service types were investigated for three racial/ethnic groups (African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, and Latinos) compared to non-Hispanic whites. Controlling for age, gender, functional impairment, and prior service use, significant differences by race/ethnicity were found for all three variables studied. Possible explanations for these variations and future directions for research are discussed.

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