Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Psychology

Sub-Department

School Psychology

First Advisor

Mark Weist

Abstract

Many youth present emotional or behavioral difficulties at levels that necessitate mental health services, yet few receive these needed services. However, school mental health services are thought to improve access to mental health services for youth and families over and above traditional community mental health centers. The purpose of the current study was to expand on existing research by examining community-level and geographic predictors of the utilization of school mental health or community mental health services. Within the context of a large, federally funded trial, I examined how community rurality, ethnic/racial makeup and drive time predicted the use of either school mental health or community mental health services while controlling for county of residence and median household income. Service utilization at schools versus the community mental health center was not predicted by the community- or geographiclevel predictors examined in the current study. However some interesting descriptive findings did emerge that may lend preliminary support to the notion that school mental health services help improve geographic accessibility for those youth that live furthest from the community mental health center. Implications for future research are discussed.

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