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Mental health in pediatric settings: distribution of disorders and factors related to service use.

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  • 1Yale University Department of Psychology, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine child psychiatric disorders in pediatric settings and identify factors associated with parents' use of pediatricians as resources concerning emotional/behavioral issues and use of mental health services.

METHOD:

The sample consists of 5- to 9-year-olds (mean = 7.17 years, SD = 1.41) from a representative sample (N = 1,060) of pediatric practices. Parent interviews included assessments of psychiatric disorders with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC-R), parental depression/anxiety, possible child abuse, stress, support, and the use of mental health services.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of any DISC disorder was 16.8%. Parental depression/anxiety and possible child abuse were associated independently with 2- to 3-times higher rates of disorder. Many parents (55%) who reported any disorder did not report discussing behavioral/emotional concerns with their pediatrician. Factors associated with discussing behavioral/emotional issues were the presence of any disorder and financial stress. Factors related to seeing a mental health professional were discussing behavioral/emotional issues with the pediatrician, single parenthood, and stressful life events.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence rates of disorders in this setting suggest that pediatricians are well-placed to identify and refer children with psychiatric disorders. However, most parents do not discuss behavioral/emotional issues with their pediatrician. Methods for improving rates of identification and referral (e.g., routine screening) are considered.

PMID:
10892225
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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