Mental health care for youth: Predictors of use are not always the same as predictors of volume

Pierre K. Alexandre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study identifies determinants of adolescents' propensity to use outpatient mental care as well as factors predicting number of visits after contact with a provider was made. We examined three types of treatment outlets: day treatment program (DTP), mental health clinic (MHC), and private specialty services (PSS). Among youth, 1.6% visited DTP, 2.3% visited MHC, and 11.1% had PSS, with overlaps in services utilization. Results from multivariable logistic regressions indicate that most of the individual characteristics differentiated youth on odds of using MHC and PSS, but not DTP. Health status, alcohol dependence, drug dependence, and problematic conduct behaviors and having Medicaid increased the odds of using all three services. Censored regressions used to model number of visits among service users found that girls consistently used more visits than boys. The results suggest that policies that encourage seeking help to a mental care provider may be in instances different from those aimed at motivating retention in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-632
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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