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Family Strain Among White and Latino Parents of Children with Mental and Behavioral Health Disorders

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Caring for children with mental and behavioral health conditions can lead to family strain. Research indicates that Latino children are less likely to adhere to recommended treatment for their mental health diagnoses, increasing the potential for family strain. Little research has focused on understanding the different predictors of family strain among white and Latino families of children with mental health or behavioral health diagnoses. This paper uses a model of family strain to understand how stressors, resources, and perceptions predict family strain for white and Latino parents of children with a mental or behavioral health condition. Data from a telephone survey of 268 parents of children with a mental or behavioral health condition were analyzed to understand predictors of strain using the Family Strain Index scale. Findings indicate that family strain does differ between white and Latino families. Latino families’ strain was predicted by age of parent (β = −0.381, P < 0.001), perceptions of treatment quality (β = 0.306, P < 0.001), and child’s current symptom burden (β = −0.390, P < 0.001). White family strain was related to their child’s health status (β = −0.240, P < 0.001), symptom burden (β = −0.339, P < 0.001), and parent’s level of education (β = −0.315, P < 0.001).

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Correspondence to Melanie Sberna Hinojosa.

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Hinojosa, M.S., Knapp, C. & Woodworth, L. Family Strain Among White and Latino Parents of Children with Mental and Behavioral Health Disorders. J Child Fam Stud 24, 1575–1581 (2015).

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