Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Harrison Ndetan


A lack of mental health services for children and adolescents has been linked to significant health problems in adulthood. Researchers have investigated factors that influence usage of mental health services among children and adolescence, but significant gaps persist regarding use of mental health service among military-connected youth. This quantitative study was conducted to examine if parental military status and parental education affected the usage of mental health services among children and adolescents ages 3–17 in the United States. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze secondary data from the combined 2019–2020 National Survey of Children’s Health. After adjusting for income, family structure, parental mental health status, and health insurance coverage, no statistically significant relationship was found between parental military status, parental education, and use of mental health services for youth ages 3–17. The study failed to reject the null hypothesis (OR=.52, 95% CI [.07, 3.95], p = .60). Parental education was associated with a higher likelihood of usage of mental health services (OR=.77, 95% CI [0.00, -], p = .002). Use of mental health services was highest among those with a high school diploma and less, lower among those with a college degree or higher, and lowest among those with some college or an associate degree. The findings of this study have potential implications for positive social change that include targeting military-connected youth and creating better mental health programs for service members and their families. Timely use of mental health services can promote better outcomes and improve quality of life for this population.