Disparities in Mental and Behavioral Health Treatment for Children and Youth in Immigrant Families.

TitleDisparities in Mental and Behavioral Health Treatment for Children and Youth in Immigrant Families.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRosenberg J, Rosenthal MS, Cramer LD, Lebowitz ER, Sharifi M, Yun K
JournalAcad Pediatr
Date Published2020 Jun 26

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Children and youth in immigrant families (CIF)-children and youth with at least one foreign-born parent-face unique psychosocial stressors. Yet little is known about access to mental/behavioral health (MBH) services for CIF. Among US CIF and non-CIF with MBH problems, we assessed access to MBH treatment.

METHODS: We used the National Survey of Children's Health-2016, a nationally-representative survey of predominantly English- or Spanish-speaking US parents. The sample included 2-17 year-olds whose parent reported at least one MBH problem. The primary outcome was prior-year receipt of MBH treatment (counseling, medication, or both).

RESULTS: Of 50,212 survey respondents, 7,164 reported a current MBH problem (809 CIF and 6,355 non-CIF). The majority of CIF were Hispanic/Latinx (56% CIF vs 13% non-CIF, p<0.001). CIF were less likely than non-CIF to have an ADHD diagnosis (35% vs 59%, p<0.001) and less likely to have received MBH medication and/or counseling (61% vs 71%, p = 0.02). This difference was pronounced for receiving medication (32% vs 50%, p<0.001). When controlling for multiple covariates, differences in any MBH treatment were no longer statistically significant (AOR 0.76, 95% CI 0.52- 1.11), while the odds of receipt of medication remained significantly lower for CIF (AOR 0.61, 95% CI 0.42 - 0.88).

CONCLUSIONS: Among children and youth with at least one parent-reported MBH problem, CIF, compared with non-CIF, were less likely to receive MBH treatment, specifically medication. This may be explained, in part, by differences in the proportion of CIF and non-CIF diagnosed with ADHD.

Alternate JournalAcad Pediatr
PubMed ID32599347
Grant ListTL1 TR001864 / TR / NCATS NIH HHS / United States