Section 47
Chapter 46,232

Help-seeking behaviours among child psychiatric clinic attenders in Hong Kong

Ho, T.P.; Chung, S.Y.

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 31(5): 292-298


ISSN/ISBN: 0933-7954
PMID: 8909120
DOI: 10.1007/bf00787923
Accession: 046231327

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This study employed semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to describe the help-seeking processes and examine the determinants of help-seeking behaviours in 100 consecutive referrals to a child psychiatric clinic in Hong Kong. The help-seeking processes were characterized by (1) a sequential pattern of lay consultations starting from the families, relatives, friends and, rarely, neighbours; (2) detour via multiple professionals; (3) delay in reaching specialist services. A total of seven psychosocial variables were used to predict the help-seeking behaviours. The younger the child was, the more likely members outside the families were sought for advice. A large number of professional consultations was predicted by a high symptom score and relative old age in the referred child, less social disadvantages in the family and parental beliefs that family influences were not the cause of the child's problems. A long delay in reaching specialist services was predicted by a high symptom score in the child. Parental beliefs of outside influences being the cause of the child's problems predicted a short delay in reaching the clinic. Low awareness of services was the predominant difficulty parents encountered when they sought psychiatric care for their children. Public health education to demystify the cause of mental disturbances, close networking with teachers and general practitioners, and establishment of community child mental health clinics for easy access are recommended.

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