Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 529–542 | Cite as

Parental Cultural Affiliation and Youth Mental Health Service Use

  • Judy Ho
  • May Yeh
  • Kristen McCabe
  • Richard L. Hough
Original Paper


Studies indicate that African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino youth have higher rates of unmet mental health needs and lower rates of mental health service utilization compared to non-Hispanic White youth, suggesting that obstacles may exist in the help-seeking and service utilization pathway for minority youth. Parental cultural factors may significantly impact youth service use, and acculturation is one way to measure adherence to culture specific values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. In this study, parental acculturation level, conceptualized as cultural affinity to 1) mainstream American culture and 2) an alternative culture, were examined as potential mediators of the relationship between race/ethnicity and youth service use. The current subsample (n=1364) was drawn from the Patterns of Care study, a larger study of at-risk youth who were active to at least one of five public sectors of care. Our subsample included all youth aged 6–17 who were African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, or Non-Hispanic Whites (66.6% male). The results indicate that parental acculturation level as measured by affinity to an Alternative Culture was a partial mediator in the relationship between race/ethnicity and mental health service use for Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino youth.


Acculturation Youth mental health Minority mental health Service utilization disparities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy Ho
    • 1
  • May Yeh
    • 2
  • Kristen McCabe
    • 3
  • Richard L. Hough
    • 4
  1. 1.Child and Adolescent Services Research CenterChildren’s Hospital, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Research ScientistChild and Adolescent Services Research Center, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.University of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.Senior Research Scientist at the Child and Adolescent Services Research CenterChildren’s Hospital, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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