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Ambul Pediatr. 2003 Jul-Aug;3(4):191-5.

Primary care clinicians' use of standardized tools to assess child psychosocial problems.

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Department of Medicine and Center for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593, USA.



Children's psychosocial problems are prevalent but often inaccurately diagnosed. This study investigated primary care clinicians' (PCCs) use of standardized tools for psychosocial problems among children in whom they reported finding a problem.


The data consisted of 21 065 unique visits by children ages 4 to 15 years in 204 practices. Parents completed questionnaires before seeing the PCCs, who completed a survey after the visit. This analysis included 3934 children who were recognized by PCCs as having one or more psychosocial problems. The primary outcome was the PCCs' usage of a tool to assess child psychosocial problems.


PCCs used a tool in 20.2% of visits where a psychosocial problem was recognized, whereas 50% of PCCs never used such tools. Tools were less likely to be used by female PCCs and family practitioners and were less likely to be used with girls and African American children. Tools were more frequently used with children with attention problems, during visits for psychosocial problems, and when the PCC knew about the problem before the visits.


PCCs use standardized tools infrequently to screen for, confirm, or monitor psychosocial problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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