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01-08-2012 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2012

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2012

Predictors of Service Utilization Among Youth Diagnosed with Mood Disorders

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2012
Amy N. Mendenhall


In this study, I investigated patterns and predictors of service utilization for children with mood disorders. The Behavioral Model for Health Care Utilization was used as an organizing framework for identifying predictors of the number and quality of services utilized. Hierarchical regression was used in secondary data analyses of the Multi-Family Psychoeducational Psychotherapy study (MF-PEP), a randomized controlled trial of 165 children aged 8–12 with mood disorders. The children were using an average of two services, with pharmacotherapy and school services as most frequent. Children with bipolar disorders used significantly more and higher quality services than children with depressive disorders. Parent knowledge of mood disorders, area of residence, and perceived need for treatment were all related to the number of services families were utilizing. Parent knowledge of mood disorders and treatment, child’s age, and mood symptom severity were all predictors of the quality of services being utilized. Findings highlight the impact of non-need factors on service utilization and the potential to decrease disparities caused by these factors. For example, increasing efforts to educate both the general public and individual families coming in for treatment about children’s mental health may improve service utilization patterns in this population.

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