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Parental Problem Recognition and Help-Seeking for Disruptive Behavior Disorders

  • Oliver G. JohnstonEmail author
  • Jeffrey D. Burke
Article
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Abstract

Millions of children across the USA have unmet mental health needs. When these include the disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs)—oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—this can mean significant long-term consequences. Since children rarely seek treatment themselves, parents are central to the help-seeking process. This paper reviews research on the rates of problem recognition and help-seeking for DBDs, and on perceptual barriers that might hinder service engagement. Most children with DBDs are neither identified as such nor engaged in treatment, although this may be less true for ADHD than ODD or CD. Factors associated with DBDs that may reduce service engagement include seeing the behaviors as “normative,” interpreting the symptoms as willful, and expecting to be blamed for the child’s problems. Implications of these findings are discussed with particular focus on the widespread dissemination of evidence-based information about DBDs.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Stephanie Milan, Ph.D., and Crystal L. Park, Ph.D., for their review and feedback during the production of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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