Pathways to Service Receipt: Modeling Parent Help-Seeking for Childhood Mental Health Problems

  • Leandra GodoyEmail author
  • Nicholas D. Mian
  • Abbey S. Eisenhower
  • Alice S. Carter
Original Article


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.


Help-seeking Mental health problems Parent appraisals Service receipt Young children Structural equation modeling 



We wish to thank the research assistants who worked hard on data collection and processing, including Diana Cortes, Stephanie Moronta, and Gavin O’Brien. Partial funding for this study came from the Horizon Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston, funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHHD) of the NIH under Award Number P20 MD002290-05. Partial funding for work on this manuscript was also provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant F31 HD063344-03 awarded to Leandra Godoy. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leandra Godoy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicholas D. Mian
    • 1
  • Abbey S. Eisenhower
    • 1
  • Alice S. Carter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA

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