Presentation and Management of Childhood Psychosocial Problems.


Presentation and Management of Childhood Psychosocial Problems.


Wildman Beth G; Kinsman Anne M; Logue Everett; Dickey Douglas J; Smucker William D


Journal of Family Practice




BACKGROUND. Between 15% and 25% of children who visit primary care physicians have emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric problems that affect their functioning. The majority of these children are treated by primary care physicians. The purpose of this study was to examine the presentation and treatment of children's psychosocial problems in primary care and to investigate ways in which physician management of a problem is related to parent-physician agreement that the problem exists. METHODS. Twenty-six physicians at an ambulatory care center of a community-based, university-affiliated family medicine training program collected data during outpatient visits of 898 children aged 2 to 16 years. The physicians used a checklist to collect data on children's developmental problems, parents' concerns about the psychosocial functioning of their children, whether physicians and parents were in agreement about these concerns, and the parents' influence on physicians' management of the problems. RESULTS. Family physicians and parents agreed that 10% of the children were experiencing psychosocial problems. For 5% of children, physicians recorded emotional or behavioral concerns when parents did not disclose any such concerns. For only 1.8% of children, parents raised psychosocial concerns while physicians did not. Physicians diagnosed and managed psychosocial concerns during both acute-care and well-child visits. When parents and physicians agreed on the presence of pediatric psychosocial problems, referral to a mental health professional was more likely than when they disagreed (60% vs 16%). CONCLUSIONS. Pediatric psychosocial concerns are raised by parents during acute-care and well-child visits. Family physicians identified and managed these problems at rates consistent with past research. Management strategies appeared to differ as a function of agreement between physicians and parents on whether a problem existed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


MENTAL health; PRIMARY care; PHYSICIAN-patient relations; PHYSICIANS (General practice); CHILD psychology; PATHOLOGICAL psychology


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Wildman Beth G; Kinsman Anne M; Logue Everett; Dickey Douglas J; Smucker William D, “Presentation and Management of Childhood Psychosocial Problems.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed May 23, 2024,