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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004 Jul-Aug;26(4):316-22.

Rates of maternal depression in pediatric emergency department and relationship to child service utilization.

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Department of Psychiatry, Michigan Depression Center, University of Michigan Medical School, 2101 Commonwealth Boulevard, Suite B, Room 1003 Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


This cross-sectional study aimed to (a) identify rates and correlates of untreated elevated depression in mothers of young children in a pediatric emergency department (ED) setting and (b) examine the association of depression and other key variables to child healthcare use. Mothers (n=176) bringing their child (<age 7) to the pediatric ED completed a screening survey assessing depression, demographic information, and select child healthcare information. Up to 31% of mothers screened evidenced elevated depression, and most were not being treated (78%). Elevated depression was related to both missed pediatric outpatient visits and greater use of pediatric ED services. Thus, the pediatric ED setting may provide the opportunity to identify mothers whose depressive symptoms have been obstacles to seeking routine primary care for their children. Detection of maternal depression in pediatric settings using a screening tool accompanied by appropriate follow through may be a reasonable strategy to improve health outcomes for both the mother and her child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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