Factors Influencing Service Utilization and Mood Symptom Severity in Children With Mood Disorders: Effects of Multifamily Psychoeducation Groups (MFPGs)

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This study investigated the impact of psychoeducation on service utilization and mood symptom severity in children with mood disorders. Parents' knowledge of mood disorders, beliefs about treatment, and perceptions of children's need for treatment were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between psychoeducation and service utilization and between psychoeducation and mood symptom severity. Linear mixed effects modeling and joint significance test for mediation were used in secondary data analyses of the multifamily psychoeducation group (MFPG) study, a randomized controlled trial of 165 children ages 8 to 12 years with mood disorders. A majority of those sampled were male (73%) and White, non-Hispanic (90%), and the median range of family income was $40,000-$59,000. Participation in MFPG significantly improved quality of services utilized, mediated by parents' beliefs about treatment. Participation in MFPG also significantly improved severity of child's mood symptoms, mediated by quality of services utilized. MFPG appears to be a psychoeducational intervention that helps parents to become better consumers of the mental health system who access higher quality services. Children's symptom severity decreases as a result.

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