Understanding parent appraisals of child behavior problems and parental help-seeking can reduce unmet mental health needs. Research has examined individual contributors to help-seeking and service receipt, but use of structural equation modeling (SEM) is rare. SEM was used to examine parents’ appraisal of child behavior, thoughts about seeking help, and receipt of professional services in a diverse, urban sample (N = 189) recruited from women infant and children offices. Parents of children 11–60 months completed questionnaires about child behavior and development, parent well-being, help-seeking experiences, and service receipt. Child internalizing, externalizing, and dysregulation problems, language delay, and parent worry about child behavior loaded onto parent appraisal of child behavior. Parent stress and depression were positively associated with parent appraisal (and help-seeking). Parent appraisal and help-seeking were similar across child sex and age. In a final model, parent appraisals were significantly associated with parent thoughts about seeking help, which was significantly associated with service receipt.

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Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research



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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013


This is an Accepted Manuscript. The final publication is available at Springer via