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Caregiver Mental Health, Neighborhood, and Social Network Influences on Mental Health Needs among African American Children

Michael A. Lindsey, Dorothy C. Browne, Richard Thompson, Kristin M. Hawley, J. Christopher Graham, Cindy Weisbart, Donna Harrington and Jonathan B. Kotch
Social Work Research
Vol. 32, No. 2 (June 2008), pp. 79-88
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42659674
Page Count: 10
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Caregiver Mental Health, Neighborhood, and Social Network Influences on Mental Health Needs among African American Children
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Abstract

In this study, the authors examined the combined effects of caregiver mental health, alcohol use, and social network support/satisfaction on child mental health needs among African American caregiver-child dyads at risk of maltreatment. The sample included 514 eight-yearold African American children and their caregivers who participated in the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect. A structural equation model was created with caregiver mental health/alcohol use and caregiver social network support/satisfaction as the exogenous variables and child mental health need as the endogenous variable. Caregivers with lesssupportive networks and whose capacity to parent was challenged by alcohol, depression, or other mental health problems had children with elevated mental health needs. These findings confirm the need to examine the effects of caregiver influences (for example, caregiver mental health and social network support/satisfaction) on mental health among African American children at risk of maltreatment and to further explain how the social networks of caregivers are accessed when caregivers and children have mental health problems. Implications for identifying mental health needs among this vulnerable group and improving their connections to formal mental health services through social network-level interventions are discussed.

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