Characteristics of U.S. youths with serious emotional disturbance: Data from the National Health Interview Survey
ABSTRACT Although it is estimated that serious emotional disturbance affects 9 to 13 percent of children and adolescents in the United States, there are few national data on the characteristics of this group.
This study used data for 13,579 youths from the 2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to describe the sociodemographic features and insurance coverage of youths with serious emotional disturbance living in the United States. Youths with serious emotional disturbance were identified through their scores on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which was added to the NHIS in 2001.
A large majority of youths with serious emotional disturbance were white and had income at 200 percent of the poverty level or higher. About 40 percent of youths with serious emotional disturbance had private insurance coverage, whereas Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program provided coverage for about a third of youths with serious emotional disturbance.
Although Medicaid is an important payer of mental health services for youths with serious emotional disturbance, private insurance is still the primary source of health coverage for youths with serious emotional disturbance and for the overall population of youths.
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ABSTRACT: Background: Over 160 000 children were displaced from their homes after Hurricane Katrina. Tens of thousands of these children experienced the ongoing chaos and uncertainty of displacement and transiency, as well as significant social disruptions in their lives. The objectives of this study were to estimate the long-term mental health effects of such exposure among children, and to elucidate the systemic pathways through which the disaster effect operates. Methods: The prevalence of serious emotional disturbance was assessed among 283 school-aged children in Louisiana and Mississippi. These children are part of the Gulf Coast Child & Family Health Study, involving a longitudinal cohort of 1079 randomly sampled households in the two states, encompassing a total of 427 children, who have been interviewed in 4 annual waves of data collection since January 2006. The majority of data for this analysis was drawn from the fourth round of data. Results: Although access to medical care for children has expanded considerably since 2005 in the region affected by Hurricane Katrina, more than 37% of children have received a clinical mental health diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or behavior disorder, according to parent reports. Children exposed to Hurricane Katrina were nearly 5 times as likely as a pre-Katrina cohort to exhibit serious emotional disturbance. Path analyses confirm the roles played by neighborhood social disorder, household stressors, and parental limitations on children's emotional and behavioral functioning. Conclusions: Children and youth are particularly vulnerable to the effects of disasters. They have limited capacity to independently mobilize resources to help them adapt to stressful postdisaster circumstances, and are instead dependent upon others to make choices that will influence their household, neighborhood, school, and larger social environment. Children's mental health recovery in a postdisaster setting can serve as a bellwether indicator of successful recovery or as a lagging indicator of system dysfunction and failed recovery.(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2010;4:S17-S27)Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 09/2010; 4(S1). DOI:10.1001/dmp.2010.7 · 1.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Children placed in the state’s custody due to neglect, abuse or maltreatment are one of America’s most vulnerable populations. Seventy-five percent of child victims of maltreatment are under the age of 12. Not only is their suffering a problem, these children are also at increased risk for delinquent behavior later in life. While research has documented the potential long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect, the mental health needs of young children involved in the foster care and juvenile justice systems have been largely overlooked. This study examined the social, emotional and behavioral difficulties of 670 children, age 3–11, who were involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Children in this study were living in residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster care homes or were receiving intensive home-based services. To assess the children’s mental health needs caregivers completed the parent form of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38:581–586, 1997). The findings indicated a high prevalence of mental health problems, with 81 % of the children in the sample having a total difficulties score in the borderline or abnormal range and 90 % of the children having borderline or abnormal scores on at least one of the subscales (conduct, emotional, peer or attention problems). When characteristics such as gender, race and age were considered significant differences were found among boys and girls, Caucasian and minority children, and age groups. The findings highlight the importance of mental health assessment and interventions that are gender and culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate.Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 06/2012; 30(3). DOI:10.1007/s10560-012-0286-9