Parental Efficacy, Stigma, and Help-Seeking for Children with Mental Health Issues

Arielle Stein, Pace University

Abstract

There is a significant gap between the number of children with mental health needs and the number of children who receive mental health services in the United States. Generally, parents and caregivers regulate children's access to mental health services. Therefore, in order to understand the underutilization of child mental health services, research has focused on what factors facilitate and/or prevent caregivers from seeking out mental health treatment for their children. In this study, parental efficacy and anticipated stigma related to mental illness were examined as they relate to parents' willingness to seek mental health treatment for their children. A total of 231 parents, 18 years of age and older and living in the United States, were recruited online to complete an online survey that included measures assessing the participant's mental health, social support, stress, perceived anticipated public stigma and self-stigma of seeking mental health treatment for children, parental efficacy, as well as a vignette depicting a child with an internalizing problem (anxiety). Parents were asked to imagine that the described child was one of his or her own children and then asked about help-seeking intentions. Results revealed that parental efficacy predicted greater intentions to seek advice from someone other than a mental health professional. Anticipated self-stigma related to mental illness predicted lower intentions to seek professional mental health treatment and lower feelings of urgency to seek help for the child. Moreover, the indirect association of anticipated self-stigma related to mental illness with intentions to seek advice from a non-mental health professional through the mechanism of parental efficacy was negative and significant. And, the indirect association of anticipated public stigma related to mental illness with intentions to seek advice from a non-mental health professional through the mechanism of parental efficacy was also significant, but not in the expected direction, as it was positive. Findings from this study can assist in understanding parents' decisions regarding seeking mental health services for their children, as well as in designing appropriate interventions for increasing the number of children receiving mental health services.^ Keywords: children, help-seeking, mental health, parental efficacy, parents, stigma^

Subject Area

Psychology

Recommended Citation

Stein, Arielle, "Parental Efficacy, Stigma, and Help-Seeking for Children with Mental Health Issues" (2018). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10991933.
https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI10991933

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