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Rev Med Chil. 2012 Apr;140(4):447-57. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872012000400005.

[Prevalence of psychiatric disorders among Chilean children and adolescents].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Departmento de Psiquiatría y Salud Mental, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile.



Psychiatric disorders that appear during childhood or adolescence should be a public health priority.


To report the results of a national representative survey in the Latin American region examining the prevalence of DSM-IV psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents.


Subjects aged 4 to 18 years were selected using a stratified multistage design. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV (DISC-IV) was used to obtain 12-month DSM-IV diagnoses, and was supplemented with questionnaires examining family risk factors, socioeconomic status and service use.


A sample of 1558 children and adolescents (51% males) was evaluated. Fifty three percent of the sample were children aged 4 to 11 years and the rest were adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. The prevalence rate for any psychiatric disorder without impairment was 38.3% (33.5% for boys and 43.3% for girls). The prevalence rate was higher among children as compared to adolescents (42.9% and 33.2%, respectively). A third of participants receiving a diagnosis sought some form of assistance. Nearly a quarter of those using services, did not have a psychiatric diagnosis in the past year. Comorbidity was found in 27% of those with a disorder, but only 7% had three or more diagnoses.


The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Chile is high among children and adolescents. This study highlights the increasing need to re-evaluate mental health services provided to children and adolescents in our country.

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