Parent help-seeking behaviour : Examining the impact of parent beliefs on professional help-seeking for child emotional and behavioural difficulties

Journal article


Alonso, Jennah and Little, Emma. (2019) Parent help-seeking behaviour : Examining the impact of parent beliefs on professional help-seeking for child emotional and behavioural difficulties. The Educational and Developmental Psychologist. 36(2), pp. 60-67. https://doi.org/10.1017/edp.2019.8
AuthorsAlonso, Jennah and Little, Emma
Abstract

For children experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties, parents are key gatekeepers to treatment access. However, despite the substantial prevalence of child mental health problems in Australia, there remains a significant disparity between the rate of children requiring treatment and the rate of parents actively seeking professional help for their child. Therefore, an understanding of factors impacting on parents’ help-seeking behaviour is crucial. The current study presents exploratory research examining the impact of parent beliefs on help-seeking behaviour. Specifically, this study aims to explore parent beliefs about (a) barriers to help-seeking (b) parenting ability, and (c) the causes and nature of child difficulties. Participants in this study were a sample of 399 Australian parents of children aged from 4 to 14 years, with each parent completing a series of four structured questionnaires. Results indicated that parents who had not sought help for their child perceived significantly more barriers to help seeking and held significantly stronger beliefs that child emotional and behavioural difficulties are intentional. Results also indicated that as parents’ sense of competence increased, perceived barriers to help seeking decreased. Perceived barriers to help seeking also decreased as parent beliefs that child difficulties are stable decreased. The present study presents several implications for informing effective engagement strategies to improve service utilisation, highlighting directions for future hypothesis-driven research.

Keywordsparent help seeking; childhood; emotional and behavioural problems; service engagement; developmental psychology
Year2019
JournalThe Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Journal citation36 (2), pp. 60-67
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN2059-0776
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/edp.2019.8
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85069821743
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range60-67
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print24 Jul 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted26 Jun 2019
Deposited03 Jun 2021
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