175535 Identifying children with psychosocial problems: What factors signify need to caregivers?

Monday, October 27, 2008: 3:06 PM

Roger A. Boothroyd, PhD , Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Mary I. Armstrong, PhD , Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, Department of Child and Family Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Early screening, assessment, and referral to services have been identified as essential for transforming mental health care in America (New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003). Sayal and Taylor (2004) found that parental expressions of concern were importantly linked to general practitioners' identification of children's mental health problems. Their findings raise interesting questions regarding what factors inform caregivers' perceptions of need. This presentation will summarize the findings of 2,964 caregivers who assessed their children's psychosocial functioning using the Pediatric Symptom Checklist and also indicated if their children had a mental health need. Caregivers' responses to the 35 PSC items were used as predictors in a binary logistic regression to determine which behaviors were most significantly associated with caregivers' perceptions of mental health need. The findings indicate that caregivers' endorsement on 12 of the 35 PSC items was significantly related to their perceptions regarding whether their child needed mental health services. Have trouble sleeping (OR = 1.91), being down on him/herself (OR = 1.62), and feeling hopeless (OR = 1.51) were the three items most highly associated with caregivers' perceived mental health need. One of the 12 significant PSC items was associated with decreasing caregivers' likelihood of reporting a mental health need (getting hurt, OR = .73). The full presentation will detail more fully what childhood behaviors are associated with caregivers' perceptions of mental health needs in their children and a discussion of how this information can be used in mental health literacy improvement initiatives for both caregivers and providers.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will able to describe five child and adolescent behaviors that are more influential to caregivers in perceiving potential childhood psychosocial needs. Participants will be able to articulate the role of health care providers in promoting mental health literacy. Participants will able to develop potential mental health literacy activities to increase caregiversí likelihood of perceiving potential childhood psychosocial needs.

Keywords: Mental Health, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I've been a mental health services researcher for the past 20 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.