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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1985 Jun;19(2):158-66.

A survey of child psychiatry outpatients. 1. Clinical and demographic characteristics.


This paper describes clinical and demographic characteristics of 664 children who attended outpatient child psychiatry clinics in Perth, Western Australia, over a one-year period. All social classes were represented; parents were the most common source of referral and typically the child had been assessed or treated for emotional or behavioural problems by other agencies previously. Referrals from the juvenile justice system were uncommon. The accessibility of clinics to the child population was found to have a significant effect on the rate of referral. Only 10% of the sample received conduct disorder diagnoses, whereas 16.5% had mixed disorders of conduct and emotion, and 42% had emotional disorders. Environmental circumstances, particularly recent marital break-up, family discord and recent experience of loss, were contributing factors to the child's clinical presentation in a large proportion of cases.

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