Parental attitudes towards seeking professional help for their children: A community sample from the sultanate of Oman.


Emotional and behavioural problems are common among children and adolescents, and have ongoing implications for children, families and the community. While many evidence based prevention programs and interventions have been evaluated, the availability of these does not guarantee their utilization as only a small number of children access existing services. Research indicates that children’s underutilization of services is influenced by their parents since it is the parents who make the decision to initiate or terminate health services for the child. The aim of this study was to explore parental attitudes towards childhood emotional and behavioural difficulties, beliefs about the causes of children’s problem, and their levels of satisfaction with available services. Participants in this study were a community sample of 204 parents of 4-14 year-old children from Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman. Parents completed a series of structured questionnaires. Results showed that education level did not influence parents’ attributions for child behaviour problems. In addition, parents with higher education and income had more positive attitudes towards service utilization. Examining factors contributing to children’s service utilization from the parents’ perspective is important as findings have implications for types of programs that could be delivered to the community.