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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1989 May;30(3):449-58.

Referral to child psychiatry: parent and doctor motives and expectations.

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Department of Child Psychiatry, Booth Hall Children's Hospital, Manchester, U.K.


We studied general practitioner and parental attitudes towards the referral to child psychiatric clinics of 65 children aged 7-12 yrs. The doctors gave parental request and anxiety and the seriousness of the child's condition as the most common reasons for the referral. Their expectations of it were well in line with current psychiatric practice. There was a wide variety of parental motivations in attending the surgery, and the expectations of the referral were similarly diverse. Most prominent though were help for the child and a need to know underlying reasons. Although three-quarters of parents were satisfied with the general practitioner intervention, the majority said that they had not been given information about the psychiatric assessment process, nor knew what to expect from it, and three-quarters of the children were referred after only one consultation.

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