Associations between child mental health, carer worry and help-seeking

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Carers may not always express child mental health concerns to health professionals. Therefore, identifying factors delaying help-seeking is important. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between carer affect and help-seeking. In a secondary analysis of data collected from school-aged children (N = 1,857, mean age = 9.85 years, 51% female), we used logistic regression to examine the associations between carer worry, help-seeking and child mental health. Regarding worry, higher levels of emotional problems (OR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.33-1.52), conduct problems (OR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.12, 1.36), peer problems (OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.05-1.27) or functional impairment (OR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.2-.56) were associated with higher levels of carer worry. Regarding help-seeking, higher levels of functional impairment were associated with higher levels of help-seeking (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.09-2.11). After controlling for mental health problems, carers who reported being worried about their child's mental health were less likely than other carers to seek help (OR = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.05-0.35). Knowledge of these factors may inform early interventions. Alongside implications for future research and practice, limitations of the study are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Early online date29 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2021


  • child
  • adolescent
  • parents and carers
  • Help-Seeking Behaviour
  • mental health


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