Objective: To investigate help-seeking from specialized mental health services, especially in relation to the parent–adolescent relationship, as measured by attachment, and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or depression and sex.
Methods: The study was epidemiological and cross-sectional, and used the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised-Children (ECR-RC9), the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Screener and the Depression Self-Rating Scale-Adolescents. Adolescents, 15 to 18 years old, from the Swedish county of Västmanland participated (N = 4,506, 74% participation rate).
Results: Help-seeking was predicted by co-occurring symptoms of ADHD and depression (OR = 5.4), symptoms of depression (OR = 4.8) and symptoms of ADHD (OR = 2.6), as well as any experience of sexual abuse (OR = 1.7) and being female (OR = 1.6). Secure attachment to parents, assessed with the ECR-RC9, did not increase help-seeking. Furthermore, in interaction analyses secure attachment to parents in combination with experiences of sexual abuse and/or conduct problems, or to be female and have symptoms of ADHD, decreased the probability of help-seeking.
Conclusion: Secure attachment, as a measure of the adolescent’s willingness to communicate with their parents about their problems, did not increase help-seeking. Symptoms of ADHD and/or depression predicted help-seeking more than any psychosocial factor.