Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marc Karver, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carnot Nelson, Ph.D.


children, barriers, attitudes, race, gender, psychopathology


This study investigated the influence of parents' gender, race, and psychopathology on barriers and attitudes to mental health utilization for themselves and for their children. It was hypothesized that mothers and Caucasian¹ parents would have more positive attitudes and would perceive fewer barriers to mental health services than fathers and African American² parents. A total of 194 African American and Caucasian parents were recruited from the community to participate in this study. Parents completed measures on barriers and attitudes toward treatment for themselves and their children, utilization of mental health services for themselves and their children, and their own current psychological symptoms. Results indicated that 36.3% and 19.4% of parents and children, respectively, had used mental health services during their lifetime. Parents perceived fewer barriers and had more positive attitudes toward seeking services for their children than for themselves. Race and gender differences were found in parental perceptions of barriers and attitudes toward treatment. Furthermore, barriers, attitudes, and psychopathology predicted parents' plan for future utilization of professionals for mental health services. The clinical implications of this study and directions for future research were discussed.