Using structural equation modeling, this study examined the relationship of caregiver network support on caregiver and child mental health need, as well as child mental health service use among 1075 8-year-old children participating in the LONGSCAN study. The final model showed acceptable fit (Χ 2=301.476, df=136, p<0.001; RMSEA=0.052; CFI=0.95). Caregiver and child mental health needs were positively related. As predicted, caregiver network support exerted a protective effect, with greater levels of caregiver network support predictive of lower caregiver and child need. Contrary to prediction, however, caregiver network support was not directly related to child service use. Higher child need was directly related to child service use, especially among children whose caregivers had mental health problems. The findings appear to indicate that lower levels of caregiver network support may exert its impact on child service use indirectly by increasing caregiver and child need, rather than by directly increasing the likelihood of receiving services, especially for African American children.
- Child mental health
- Child service use
- Social network
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science