Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 327–340

Children of farm laborers: Utilization of services for mental health problems


  • Sandra L. Martin
    • Department of Maternal and Child Health, CB # 7400, School of Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina
  • Janis B. Kupersmidt
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina
  • Kristina S. M. Harter
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina

DOI: 10.1007/BF02249451

Cite this article as:
Martin, S.L., Kupersmidt, J.B. & Harter, K.S.M. Community Ment Health J (1996) 32: 327. doi:10.1007/BF02249451


Utilization of various types of services for children's mental health problems was examined among 112 agricultural farm worker families. Pairs of mothers and children (aged 8 to 11) were interviewed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children and the Child and Adolescent Services Assessment. Sixty-four percent of the children met criterion for one or more psychiatric diagnoses. Children with a psychiatric diagnosis were five times more likely to see a health professional for a mental health problem compared to children without a psychiatric diagnosis. However, less than half of the children with a psychiatric diagnosis saw a health professional for their mental health problems. Families also consulted with school professionals, religious leaders, and non-professionals (such as friends) concerning their children's mental health, but families of children who had a psychiatric diagnosis were not significantly more likely to report these types of consultations than were families of children who did not have a psychiatric diagnosis. These findings are discussed in terms of recommendations for improving the mental health service delivery system for rural children.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996