Troubling Tally of Kids' Mental Disorders

By Bower, Bruce | Science News, December 24, 1988 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Troubling Tally of Kids' Mental Disorders

Bower, Bruce, Science News

Troubling tally of kids' mental disorders

Two large surveys, one focusing on U.S. pediatric practice and the other sampling communities throughout Puerto Rico, indicate that a surprisingly large percentage of children -- about 1 in 5 -- have moderate to severe psychiatric disorders. The reports, both in the December ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY, reinforce similar estimates in recent studies in New Zealand and North America and suggest that many such children do not receive mental health care.

"Rates this high would clearly imply a major public health problem, if these disorders led to significant long-term impairment," write psychologist Elizabeth J. Costello of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and her colleagues, who conducted the U.S. pediatric study. Unfortunately, they note, researchers know little about what happens to children with untreated psychiatric disorders they reach adolescence and adulthood.

Nevertheless, according to psychiatrist Hector R. Bird of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and his co-workers, their findings in Puerto Rico "indicate a major public health problem for the children in the island."

Costello and her colleagues studies 789 children aged 7 to 11 years visiting their pediatrician over a one-year period. Each child and his or her parent (usually the mother) filled out a standard questionnaire on the child's behavior problems and social skills. The children attended two medical centers run by a health maintenance organization. One is located in Pittsburgh and serves both affluent and poor families; the other serves a suburgan, mainly blue-collar population.

To estimate the occurrence of different psychiatric disorders, the experimenters interviewed 126 children with high scores for behavior and emotional problems, as well as their parents. They also interviewed another 174 children scoring in the normal range and their parents. A statistical analysis was used to calculate the prevalence of mental disorders in the entire sample.

Based on interviews with the child, the parent or both, 22 percent of the children had one or more psychiatric disorders.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Troubling Tally of Kids' Mental Disorders


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?