Predictors of perceived need for treatment and engagement in mental health services among racial/ethnic minority adolescents and their parents

Emily K Lichvar, Fordham University

Abstract

Despite the availability of promising efficacious mental health treatments for youth, a substantial proportion of juvenile mental health needs go largely unmet. Within this underserved population, racial/ethnic minority teens are of particular concern. Research indicates racial/ethnic teens are equally likely to have mental health problems but less likely utilize professional mental health treatment compared to White European American adolescents. Accordingly, the current study examined what adolescent clinical and family factors predicted perceived need for treatment (adolescents' and parents') and treatment engagement (intake attendance and treatment attendance) applied to community-referred racial/ethnic minority adolescents and their parents. ^ Participants were 187 adolescents who met DSM-IV criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and/or Substance Use Disorder. Data were collected prior to families being enrolled in outpatient mental health treatment. Linear and logistic regression models were used to test the predictive value of adolescent clinical and family factors, controlling for demographics, on perceived need and treatment engagement variables. ^ Results showed the majority of adolescents (64%) and parents (82%) perceived a need for treatment. Of families, 77% attended the initial intake session and only 32% attended an initial treatment session. Higher levels of adolescent-reported family conflict and lower levels of adolescent-reported family cohesion increased adolescents' perceived need for treatment, whereas, higher levels of parent-reported externalizing adolescents symptomatology increased parents' perceived need for treatment for their teen. Adolescent female gender, older adolescent age, and lower household income increased the likelihood of treatment attendance. Findings inform interventions designed to improve treatment readiness, treatment engagement, and service delivery to families with teens who have unmet treatment needs.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Lichvar, Emily K, "Predictors of perceived need for treatment and engagement in mental health services among racial/ethnic minority adolescents and their parents" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3544401.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3544401

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