Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Childhood behavior problems are one of the most common clinical referrals. Moreover, attention deficit-/hyperactivity disorder is one of the leading childhood behavior disorders. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. If left unaddressed, these behaviors can lead to enduring problems in many areas of functioning including academic and social functioning. The first step to addressing these behaviors is the parental help seeking pathway. This study sought to extend previous research (Plessy, 2019; Thurston et al., 2015) by examining the help seeking behaviors of African American mothers with preschool-aged children with externalizing behaviors. The purpose of the study was to understand the underlying variables that impact problem identification and treatment selection (particularly, parent training) for African American mothers. Moreover, this study sought to fill the service utilization gap for minority families by examining and recognizing cultural factors (i.e., racial identity, cultural values, and stigma). Participants were 114 African American mothers with at least one preschool-aged child (ages 2.5-5 years old). The results of this study demonstrated that problem recognition was influenced by behavior severity, but not impairment. Further, mothers’ who identified the ADHD behaviors as problematic were more likely to perceive a need for treatment. However, variables such as racial identity and stigma did not mediate parents’ willingness to engage in treatment. This study highlights the unique factors that impact problem identification for African American mothers with preschool children and demonstrates that previously studied variables may not hold true during this developmental period



Committee Chair

Kelley, Mary Lou



Available for download on Monday, July 10, 2028