Shared decision-making, stigma, and child mental health functioning among families referred for primary care-located mental health services

Fam Syst Health. 2014 Mar;32(1):116-21. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000004. Epub 2014 Jan 20.


There is growing emphasis on shared decision making (SDM) to promote family participation in care and improve the quality of child mental health care. Yet, little is known about the relationship of SDM with parental perceptions of child mental health treatment or child mental health functioning. The objectives of this preliminary study were to examine (a) the frequency of perceived SDM with providers among minority parents of children referred to colocated mental health care in a primary care clinic, (b) associations between parent-reported SDM and mental health treatment stigma and child mental health impairment, and (c) differences in SDM among parents of children with various levels of mental health problem severity. Participants were 36 Latino and African American parents of children (ages 2-7 years) who were referred to colocated mental health care for externalizing mental health problems (disruptive, hyperactive, and aggressive behaviors). Parents completed questions assessing their perceptions of SDM with providers, child mental health treatment stigma, child mental health severity, and level of child mental health impairment. Descriptive statistics demonstrated the majority of the sample reported frequent SDM with providers. Correlation coefficients indicated higher SDM was associated with lower stigma regarding mental health treatment and lower parent-perceived child mental health impairment. Analysis of variance showed no significant difference in SDM among parents of children with different parent-reported levels of child mental health severity. Future research should examine the potential of SDM for addressing child mental health treatment stigma and impairment among minority families.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Decision Making*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Social Stigma*