Haines, M., Queen Mary, University of London, McMunn, A. and Nazroo, J., University College London, United Kingdom
Results from previous studies examining determinants of parental consultation for child mental health provide inconsistent evidence concerning socio-demographic predictors. The aim of this study is to identify the socio-demographic predictors of parental consultation for child psychological ill-health. Cross-sectional analysis using a sample of 5, 913 children aged between 4-15 years were sampled in the Health Survey for England. Parental completion of The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used as the psychological assessment for these children. Consultation rate was associated with score on SDQ and did not vary substantially by type of disorder. Parents of children with psychological disorder were less likely to seek a consultation: if their child was a girl; as household income decreased; or if the head of household came from manual social class. Age of child and family type did not predict parental consultation. The results of this analysis confirm that a substantial proportion of children with mental health difficulties in the general population (42%) have not been seen by a professional, and these are likely to be girls and children in low income families, indicating a significant unmet need for services across the nation. These results suggest that parents and health professionals should be made more aware of the symptoms of psychological problems in girls and that services need to be planned in a way that improves uptake by low income parents.