Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety
Keywords: Anxiety | Hispanic Americans
Presentation Type: Symposium
Only 20% of children and adolescents with mental health needs in the U.S. receive services and Latino youths are three times more likely to have unmet mental health need than their white peers. However, recent research suggests that ethnic disparities in mental health service use vary as a function of problem-type (internalizing vs. externalizing), with ethnic minority youths with internalizing problems being at particularly high risk of having their mental health needs go unmet. This study utilized a mixed-methods approach to examine how problem-type influences adult perceptions of youth mental health need. Participants included mental health providers (n=44) and caregivers of Latino youths receiving mental health services (n=16) as well as those who have never received mental health services (n=23). Participants were recruited from community mental health centers and community organizations in three counties in Colorado. Participants first read two experimental vignettes describing a child with an internalizing or externalizing problem and provided ratings of problem severity, impairment, and need for services. Participants subsequently participated in a focus group, where they discussed the identification of mental health needs in children and their perceptions about the experimental vignettes. Initial results from experimental data suggest that participants see both internalizing and externalizing problems as serious, yet they see externalizing problems as having a greater impact on family (p=.004) and peer (p=.006) functioning. Furthermore, provider and caregiver ratings of need for services varied as a function of problem-type, with caregivers seeing greater need in the externalizing vignette whereas providers saw greater need in the internalizing vignette (p=.012). Qualitative analyses focus on classifying the various factors (including problem-type) that influence perceptions of mental health need. Our findings suggest that a complementary, mixed-methods approach can inform our understanding of how disparities in mental health need for internalizing problems in Latino youth come to be and provide guidance on how to eliminate them.
University of Denver
Friday, November 17
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
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