Factors Associated With Participation of Children With Mental Health Problems in Structured Youth Development Programs

Keller, Thomas E.; Bost, Noel S.; Lock, Eric D.; Marcenko, Maureen O.
September 2005
Journal of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders;Fall2005, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p141
Academic Journal
Comprehensive community care principles emphasize the importance of positive community-based activities for children with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), and care givers frequently indicate the need for recreation and after-school programs. This study examined the involvement of children with EBD in positive youth development programs and investigated factors associated with their participation. From a sample of children in an urban public mental health system, interviews with the child and primary caregiver assessed child behavior and mental health, family functioning,and social demographic status. At 6 month follow-up, care givers reported child participation in structured recreational/educational activities. Participation was positively associated with parents' level of education and negatively associated with child problem behaviors. An interaction effect involving parent education and child externalizing behaviors was identified. Also, controlling for child behavior, activity participation was associated with the impact of the child's mental health condition on the family. Considerations for assessing and overcoming barriers to participation are discussed.


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