Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Ana Bridges

Committee Member

Matthew Feldner

Second Committee Member

William Levine


Research has repeatedly demonstrated a disparity between need and utilization of mental health services for Latino adults and children. The adapted Health Beliefs Model (Henshaw & Freedman-Doan, 2009) provides a useful framework for conceptualizing the roles of perceived severity and therapy expectations in the relation between demographic variables and service utilization. Cultural variations in perceptions of mental illness by Latinos may be linked with lower service utilization rates for Latino parents and children. It was speculated that fatalismo, a cultural construct similar to external locus of control, may be related to perceptions of mental illness and service utilization outcomes for Latino parents and their children. Past research with Latino adults has shown links between fatalismo and both depression and lower service utilization in medical care, while links between fatalismo and psychiatric care have been hypothesized but not investigated. Further, studies have not yet extended this research to service utilization decisions parents make on behalf of their children. The current study therefore aimed to (1) develop a clear conceptualization of the fatalismo construct, (2) examine the relation between parental fatalismo and parent perceptions of depression for themselves and their children, and (3) explore the association between parental fatalismo and mental health service utilization for Latino parents and their children. Participants were 83 Latino parents (68 female participants, M age = 36.35 years, SD = 6.83) with at least one child between the ages of six and twelve, who were recruited during local cultural events. Participants completed self-report and parent-report measures. Factor analysis results suggested fatalismo is similar to, but not redundant with, external locus of control. Findings showed fatalismo predicted self-reported depressive symptoms in Latino adults and parent-reported depressive symptoms in their children, though the link between fatalismo and perceived depressive symptoms in children was mediated by parent depressive symptoms. Fatalismo did not predict medical or mental health service utilization for Latino parents or their children. Therefore, it appears that fatalismo may be an important consideration for treatment for depression in Latino adults. Further, it is likely that other barriers serve as more salient deterrents of service utilization for Latino parents and their children than fatalismo.