Racial/ethnic differences in parent-reported barriers to accessing children's health services.
The goals of this study were to identify whether barriers that parents perceived to using health care differed by service type (medical vs. mental health care) and whether there were racial/ethnic differences in barriers. Participants were a community sample of 275 parents (34.2% African American, 36.7% Caucasian, and 29.1% Hispanic) of children ages 9-13 years old who rated the extent to which potential barriers in 3 broad domains (stigma-related, logistical, and socioeconomic) would prevent or delay them from obtaining services. They also rated internalizing and externalizing problems exhibited by their child. Overall, parents reported greater socioeconomic and stigma-related barriers to obtaining mental health services than medical services. Hispanic parents reported socioeconomic and stigma-related barriers as more inhibiting than did African-American parents. Findings highlight the importance of strengthening relationships between mental health care providers and the community to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment for children and better educating parents about the potential benefits of treatment. Policy focused on educating parents about their insurance options and improving insurance coverage may help to reduce socioeconomic barriers.
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