, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 75-92

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Parent Perception of Child Need for Mental Health Care Following School Disciplinary Events

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Disciplinary problems at school potentially affect parent perception of child need for mental health care. This article explores effects of a child's first school suspension or expulsion on parent perception of child need for services in three racial–ethnic subgroups. Subjects were mothers participating in a national longitudinal study and their children. First-time school suspension or expulsion positively affected service use and parent-reported service need among white non-Hispanic children, but had little or no effect for African American and Hispanic children. These results suggest that information on child behavior provided to parents by teachers and school administrators can influence parent perception of child service need, but that racial–ethnic differences may exist in parent interpretation of and response to this information. Culturally appropriate approaches to relaying information to parents about child service need may help reduce these differences.