https://orcid.org/ 0000-0001-5703-455X

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio

Second Advisor

Allison Jaeger


Preschool children are often underserved in mental healthcare. One explanation for this is that caregivers do not recognize preschoolers’ mental health difficulties as problems. While previous research has identified an association between a caregiver’s skill at accurately applying diagnostic labels and help-seeking, factors such as behavior severity, functional impairment, and caregiver stress are important to the help-seeking process as well. The current study examined associations between all these variables. Participants were 82 adult mothers of preschoolers. The participants read a series of vignettes describing preschool-aged children with depression, anxiety, and ADHD, and then answered a series of questions to assess their problem recognition and likelihood of help-seeking for each of the problems presented. Significant correlations were found between help-seeking and labeling and behavior severity. Additionally, behavior severity, functional impairment, and caregiver stress were found to explain variance in help-seeking above and beyond what is explained by labeling alone. These results underscore the importance of the former set of variables to the help-seeking process. Future help-seeking interventions may wish to target these variables to improve outcomes for preschoolers with mental health difficulties.