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Journal Article

Social and demographic predictors of parental consultation for child psychological dfficulties


Publication date



Background Results from previous studies examining determinants of parental consultation for child mental health provide inconsistent evidence concerning socio‐demographic predictors. The aim of this study is to identify the socio‐demographic predictors of parental consultation for child psychological difficulties.
Method An epidemiological cross‐sectional analysis was carried out using a sample of 5913 children aged between 4 and 15 years from the Health Survey for England. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was the measure of child psychological morbidity.
Results Parents of children with psychological difficulties were less likely to seek a consultation if their child was a girl, as household income decreased or if the head of household came from manual social class. In contrast, parents were more likely to seek a consultation if they were in receipt of a benefit than if they were not in receipt of a benefit. Age of child and family type did not predict parental consultation.
Conclusions The results of this analysis confirm that a substantial proportion of children with mental health difficulties in the general population (42 per cent) have not been seen by a professional, and these are likely to be girls and children in low‐income families, indicating a significant unmet need for services across the nation. These results suggest that parents and health professionals should be made more aware of the symptoms of psychological problems in girls and that services need to be planned in a way that improves uptake by low‐income parents.

Published in

Journal of Public Health Medicine

Volume and page numbers

24 , 276 -284






Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*


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