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Parental and youth attributions, acculturation, and treatment engagement of Latino families in youth mental health services : a preliminary examination


Latino youth have higher rates of unmet mental health needs and Latino families experience poorer treatment retention in youth mental health services than Non- Hispanic Whites. Current research suggests that psychosocial factors such as health locus of control (HLOC) or Acculturation are related to physical health prevention and health promotion behaviors. However, no studies to date have examined whether these factors play a role in youth' and parents' participation (i.e., Engagement) in youth mental health services. The current proposal aims to elucidate the relationships between HLOC, Acculturation, and Engagement in youth mental health treatment for a Latino parent (n = 80) and a Latino youth (n = 77) sample, taken from the NIMH-funded TWIST study. Pearson correlation analyses were conducted to examine associations between Acculturation and HLOC, and regression analyses were conducted to examine whether Acculturation and HLOC predict Engagement in youth mental health treatment. Consistent with existing theories, results show a significantly positive correlation between youth American Cultural Affinity (ACA) and Internal HLOC, and a significantly negative correlation between parental ACA and Internal HLOC. Contrary to our hypotheses, Acculturation and HLOC did not predict Engagement in either adult or youth sample. Given the limited sample size, this study should be viewed as utilizing a pilot sample of the larger TWIST investigation. As such, projections of sample sizes needed to detect effects are considered and discussed. The current study marks the initiation of a program of research with the long-term objective of examining the relationship between Acculturation, HLOC, Engagement, and outcomes for African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and non-Hispanic White youth

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