Receiving Advice About Child Mental Health From a Primary Care Provider: African American and Hispanic Parent Attitudes


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Abstract

Background:Primary care providers (PCPs) play a critical role in the identification and treatment of child and adolescent mental health problems but few studies have examined parents’ attitudes on receiving advice about child mental health from a PCP and whether attitudes are associated with race or ethnicity.Objective:To determine if race and ethnicity were associated with parents’ attitudes on receiving advice about child mental health from a PCP.Subjects:Data were collected during 773 visits to 54 PCPs in 13 diverse clinics. Families were 56.5% white, 33.3% African American, and 10.1% Hispanic.Measures:The parent reported attitudes associated with receiving advice about child mental health from the PCP. The parent completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire to report youth mental health. PCPs completed measures of psychosocial orientation, confidence in mental health treatment skills, and the accessibility of mental health specialists.Results:Hispanics were more likely than Non-Hispanics to agree that PCPs should treat child mental health and were more willing to allow their child to receive medications or visit a therapist for a mental health problem if recommended by the PCP. African Americans were significantly less willing than whites and Hispanics to allow their child to receive medication for mental health but did not differ in their willingness to visit a therapist.Conclusions:Race and ethnicity were associated with parents’ attitudes on receiving advice about child mental health from a PCP. Primary care may be a good point of intervention for Hispanic youth with mental health needs.

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