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Maria van Tilburg


Anxiety can influence an individual's decision-making process; however, researchers have yet to establish whether anxiety has an impact on the healthcare utilization practices of mothers of children with a mental health diagnosis. The purpose of this study was to assess whether trait anxiety, coping styles, and self-efficacy in mothers of children with a mental health diagnosis affected their healthcare utilization decisions. The transactional model of stress and coping was used to analyze the impact of children with mental health disorders on their caretakers. For this study, a quantitative, cross-sectional research design was employed. The 4 survey tools, administered through as well as in paper form, included the Brief COPE, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAID-AD), Health Self-Efficacy Measure, and Healthcare Utilization Questionnaire. Study participants (N = 152) were mothers primarily ages 30-49 years (90.8%), Caucasian (57.9%), and high school graduates (63.2%) who were residents of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Mothers reported their children were primarily ages 3-6 years (34.2%), Caucasian (49.3%), had a mental health diagnosis, were living in the home, and were currently in mental health treatment. The outcomes of a binary logistic regression found that trait anxiety did not have a significant impact on healthcare utilization. A Sobel test of mediation indicated that coping styles and self-efficacy were not mediating variables between trait anxiety and healthcare utilization. The implications for positive social change as a result of this research may lead to the training of healthcare providers on the specific characteristics of mothers of children with a mental health diagnosis and the development of social policies concerning healthcare utilization.

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