Date of Completion


Embargo Period



race/ethnicity, treatment engagement, mental health, youth, ethnic identity, racial identity

Major Advisor

Stephanie Milan, PhD

Associate Advisor

Jeffrey Burke, PhD

Associate Advisor

Diane Quinn, PhD

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Low engagement in mental health treatment is a problem across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender lines. Disparities in treatment engagement are particularly evident among certain racial/ethnic groups and may result in part from different beliefs about mental health and psychotherapy (Yasui et al., 2017). Despite evidence of engagement disparities, there is limited research on the attitudes that youth of color have toward mental health treatment. The current studies investigate racial/ethnic differences in beliefs about treatment among adolescents and young adults. Study 1 was a retrospective cohort analysis examining self-reported readiness for psychotherapy among adolescents admitted to a psychiatric inpatient unit. Results demonstrated no global racial/ethnic differences in readiness for psychotherapy, but there was a significant race by gender interaction with Black males reporting higher disinterest in psychotherapy. Study 2 was an experimental study of university students investigating the influence of mental health clinic diversity, ethnic-racial identity, and discrimination on treatment attitudes. Results again indicated few group differences, except that Black participants had significantly more negative expectations about the therapy process. Clinician diversity was not related to treatment attitudes. Discrimination and ethnic-racial identity were significantly related to attitudes and the relationship between Public Regard and attitudes was moderated by race/ethnicity. Overall findings indicate many similarities across racial/ethnic groups, but also highlight the need to identify individual factors, such as ethnic-racial identity, that may contribute to negative attitudes toward treatment for some youth of color.