Emily M. Wilhelm



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Approximately 20% of children in the United States develop some kind of behavioral or psychological problem that requires treatment, but the majority of these children do not receive mental health services. This study examines the relationships between various child and family characteristics and the likelihood that a parent will seek professional mental health services for their child. Previous studies have found that many factors, including family income, child gender, and parent education level are associated parents' utilization of children's mental health service. However, these studies have not tested whether these factors are associated with service utilization over-and-above the influence of symptom severity. The purpose of the study is to identify factors beyond symptom severity that are associated with a parent's decision to seek services for their child. The factors being investigated are child age, gender, family income, family stress, parental separation, and severity and type of problem exhibited by the child. The study utilizes previously collected longitudinal data from a community study of child development. Findings from this research will improve understanding of influences on utilization of mental health programs or interventions for children.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Jackson A. Goodnight

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium poster

Child and Family Influences on Parent's Utilization of Children's Mental Health Services