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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2009 Sep 28;3(1):30. doi: 10.1186/1753-2000-3-30.

The practice of child and adolescent psychiatry: a survey of early-career psychiatrists in Japan.

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  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Sapporo Medical University, School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.



Child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP), a subspecialty of psychiatry in Japan, is facing a serious workforce shortage. To resolve this situation, the Japanese government has organized a task force and has been working to increase psychiatrists' clinical skills to improve care for children and adolescents with mental health problems. Using an online questionnaire system, the authors have conducted a survey to investigate the perceptions, experiences, and interests of early-career psychiatrists in CAP.


The subjects of this study were 182 psychiatrists in Japan whose individual clinical experiences did not exceed 15 years. The authors of this study created an online questionnaire system and e-mailed the URL and login password to all subjects. Respondents anonymously answered the questions. Most questions required an answer indicating a level of agreement scored on a nine-point scale. Responding to the questionnaire was considered to constitute consent, and all respondents' privacy was carefully protected.


The mean age and clinical psychiatric experience of the subjects were found to be 33.1 +/- 4.5 years and 5.43 +/- 3.5 years, respectively. On a nine-point scale (with nine being the highest), experience and interest in CAP measured 3.05 +/- 1.9 and 5.34 +/- 2.5, respectively; further, these two factors showed significant correlation (r = 0.437, p < 0.0001). The mean score for the early-career psychiatrists' confidence in their ability to diagnose and appropriately treat was notably low, at 3.13 +/- 1.9.


Our results demonstrated that early-career psychiatrists self-evaluated their CAP clinical experience as insufficient, and these clinicians' CAP experiences and interests correlated significantly. Therefore, in order to improve child and adolescent medical care, we need to expose young psychiatrists to sufficient CAP cases and explore the factors that could attract them to this field.

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