Racial/ethnic Differences in Teen and Parent Perspectives Toward Depression Treatment

Published in: Journal of adolescent health, v. 44, no. 6, June 2009, p. [546]-553

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Anita Chandra, Molly M. Scott, Lisa H. Jaycox, Lisa S. Meredith, Terri Tanielian, M. Audrey Burnam

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PURPOSE: There are significant racial/ethnic disparities in youth access to and use of appropriate depression treatment. Although there is a growing literature on racial/ethnic differences in treatment preference among adults, we know very little about whether these differences persist for adolescents and whether parents have an influence on their teensα treatment perspectives. METHODS: Teens and parents from a sample of primary care settings were interviewed at baseline and 6 months. We used bivarate and regression analyses to describe racial/ethnic differences in teen and parent depression knowledge and treatment preference and to assess the impact of parental views on teen perspectives. RESULTS: Latino and African American teens had lower average scores on antidepressant knowledge (p < .01) and counseling knowledge than white teens (p < .01). These racial/ethnic differences were greater among parents (p < .001). Parent antidepressant knowledge had an impact on teen knowledge when teens reported turning to them for advice (beta = 0.20, p < .05). Teen knowledge about medication (odds ratio [OR] = 1.16, p < .01) and counseling (OR = 1.26, p < .001) were associated with a willingness to seek active treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Racial/ethnic differences in depression treatment knowledge persist, but are more pronounced for parents than teens. Talking to parents who have more knowledge about depression treatment is associated with more teen knowledge and that knowledge is associated with greater willingness to seek depression treatment. Research is needed on the content and type of conversations that parents and teens have about depression treatment, and if there are differences by race/ethnicity.

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