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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Parent-Attitudes, Parent and teenager, Help-seeking behavior, Mentally ill children-Treatment, Adolescent psychotherapy-Parent participation, Adolescents, Parents, Mental health, Qualitative research, Pathways


This exploratory, secondary analysis examined the subjective experience of parents whose adolescents (ages 12-17) experienced mood and/or behavior disorders. Thematic and structural analyses were used to analyze the transcripts of forty-three parents. The aim was to describe parents' experience in identifying their adolescents' mental distress and subsequently seeking formal treatment. Respondents in a mid-west city were predominately female (95%) and reflected diversity in terms of race/ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, education, and their adolescents' primary diagnoses. The results demonstrated that parent-created help-seeking processes were reflective of the unique social context of each youth/parent dyad. Ten major activity strategies were identified for describing how parents enacted their responsibilities in initiating and maintaining help-seeking pathways for their youth. A parent's utilization of a particular subset of these activity strategies over time produced a pathway whose overall impact could be characterized as either facilitating (proactive) or impeding (reactive) the youth's recovery process.




167 p. : ill. (some col.) Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass, 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 129-148)