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31-01-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2015

Parental Perceptions of Mental Health Care for Children in El Salvador

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2015
Robert R. Selles, Raquel Zepeda, Brittney F. Dane, Juan Carlos Novoa, Daniel Guttfreund, Robert Nelson, Eric A. Storch


The present study examined perceptions of mental health care amongst a group of parents presenting to a children’s museum in El Salvador. A total sample of 311 guardians completed a set of questionnaires focused on suitability of treatment approaches, barriers to obtaining care, and mental health attitudes. Results suggested positive mental health attitudes (i.e., low stigma, positive help-seeking attitudes and intentions), high approval for self-reliant methods of treating mental health problems (e.g., pull oneself together, physical exercise, and relaxation), and perception of barriers to treatment as, on average, likely to be a moderate problem in attempts to obtain care. Psychotherapy was also rated favorably; however, use of psychiatric medication was rated largely unfavorable along with other ingestive strategies (e.g., drinking alcohol, taking alternative medicine). Approval of psychotherapy was associated with past obtainment of such services, lower levels of stigma, and more positive help-seeking attitudes. Overall, individuals in El Salvador appear open to mental health treatment for their children, but may prefer self-reliant methods of solving mental health problems or believe obtaining care will be too difficult. Continued understanding of perceptions of mental health care treatment may aid in improving the quality of mental health care treatment available and obtained for individuals in El Salvador and other nations.

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