, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 65-77

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Parental Endorsement of Barriers to Mental Health Services for Youth

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The present study investigated parental endorsement of barriers to care in a racially/ethnically diverse, at-risk sample of youth with mental health needs by testing the following hypotheses: (1) African American, Asian/Pacific Islander American, and Latino youth would have higher levels of unmet need compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs); (2) Parents of ethnic minority youth would report a greater number of barriers to mental health services for their children than would parents of NHWs; (3) The pattern of greater barrier endorsement by parents of ethnic minorities compared to parents of NHWs would persist across different barrier types; (4) Barrier endorsement would be related to unmet need for mental health services. As hypothesized, ethnic minority youth had higher levels of unmet need as compared to NHWs. However, despite this finding, parents of ethnic minority youth reported fewer barriers than did parents of NHWs, and this pattern generally persisted across barrier types. Furthermore, barrier endorsement was unrelated to unmet need. Post hoc analyses suggest the influence of cultural factors upon barrier endorsement, indicating the importance of taking such influences into account in future research on barriers to care.