Parents with a child suffering from psychosocial problems frequently experience barriers to psychosocial care, which may hinder access. Expectations of barriers may have the same effect, but evidence is lacking. The aim of this study is to examine parents’ and adolescents’ expectations of barriers regarding psychosocial care for the child, along with associated child and family characteristics. We obtained data on an age-stratified random sample of school children/pupils aged 4-18 via questionnaires (N = 666; response rate 70.3 %). Expectations of barriers to psychosocial care were measured with the ‘Barriers to Treatment Participation Scale-Expectancies’ questionnaire (BTPS-exp). Results showed that 64 % of the parents of children below age 12, 59 % of the parents of adolescents (age 12-18), and 84 % of the adolescents expected one or more barriers. Parents and adolescents expected barriers most frequently with respect to irrelevance of treatment. Mainly parents with low educational level and their adolescents expected barriers regarding treatment, and quite a few characteristics of parents of adolescents were associated with expecting multiple barriers regarding treatment demands and issues, for example, single parents, parents of lower educational level and of adolescent boys, and parents of adolescents with psychosocial problems. We conclude that adolescents especially, but also their parents and parents of younger children, expect major barriers to psychosocial care, which may greatly hinder appropriate care seeking. This evidence may support professionals and policymakers in their attempts to improve access to psychosocial care.