Caregiver Factors Predicting Service Utilization Among Youth Participating in a School-based Mental Health Intervention

Inger Burnett-Zeigler, John S. Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Large numbers of children and adolescents experience diagnosable psychiatric disturbances; however, the majority of those with need do not utilize mental health services. Characteristics of caregivers are important predictors of which youth will access and continue to use services over time. In recent years school-based mental health intervention programs have played a key role in identifying youth with mental health needs and linking them to treatment. In this study we sought to identify the caregiver demographic and contextual factors that predict days of service use among youth participating in a school-based mental health intervention program. Our sample included 85 youth ages 5-18 and their caregivers. We analyzed the data using bivariate and multivariate Poisson regressions with caregiver factors as the independent variables and days of service as the dependant variable. We found significant bivariate and multivariate associations for every caregiver demographic (sex, age, race) and contextual (education, employment, income, insurance, health, strain, and was it the caregivers idea to seek treatment) factor that was examined. In this study we identified the caregiver factors that are likely important in predicting youth service utilization even when steps have been taken to improve identification and access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-578
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The writing of this manuscript was supported by the Office of Academic Affiliations, Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment, Department of Veterans Affairs. We would also like to thank Mark Ilgen Ph.D., Zoran Martinovich Ph.D, Gary McClelland, Ph.D., Dana Weiner, Ph.D, and Kara Zivin, Ph.D. for their helpful contributions.


  • Children and adolescents
  • Parents and caregivers
  • School-based healthcare
  • Service utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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