Characteristics of U.S. Youths With Serious Emotional Disturbance: Data From the National Health Interview Survey

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Роквилл, Maryland, United States
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 2.41). 12/2006; 57(11):1573-8. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


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.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "The SDQ is a brief behavioral screening questionnaire that gives reliable K. S. Whitted et al. information about children's emotional health, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer relationship problems and prosocial behavior. The scale items were selected on the basis of the diagnostic categories of the DSM-IV and ICD-10 (Mark and Buck 2006). The questionnaire consists of 25 items divided between five subscales of five items each; (a) emotional symptoms (e.g., often seems worried, often unhappy, depressed or tearful), (b) conduct problems (e.g., often lies or cheats, often fights with other youth or bullies them), (c) hyperactivity (e.g., constantly fidgeting or squirming, easily distracted, concentration wanders), (d) peer problems (e.g., has at least one good friend, generally liked by other youth), and (e) prosocial behavior (e.g., considerate of other people's feelings, kind to younger children). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
  • Source
    • "We also found a prevalence of moderate to severe mental health problems of nearly 10% which is similar to the results from the National Health Interview Survey (Mark & Buck, 2006). Our analysis identified important socio-demographic disparities in mental health, but not necessarily in the patterns identified in other studies (Costello, et al., 1996; Ghandour, Kogan, Blumberg, & Perry, 2010; Mark & Buck, 2006; Simpson, et al., 2005). We found that children with mental health problems were disproportionately living in or near poverty, in non-two-parent homes, and in families already affected by mental health problems. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Approximately 20% of children in the United States have mental health problems. The factors associated with childhood mental health problems and the associated burdens on families are not well understood. Therefore, our goals were to profile mental health problems in children to identify disparities, and to quantify and identify correlates of family burden. We used the National Survey of Children's Health, 2003 (N=85,116 children aged 3-17 years) for this analysis. The prevalence, unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios of mental health problems and family burden were calculated for children by child-, family- and health systems- level characteristics. The prevalence of mental health problems among children aged 3-17 years was 18%. The odds of mental health problems were higher for boys, older children, children living in or near relative poverty, those covered by public insurance, children of mothers with fair or poor mental health, children living in homes without two parents, children without a personal doctor or nurse, and children with unmet health care needs. Among families with children with mental health problems, 28% reported family burden. Correlates of family burden included White race, severity, older age, higher income, non-two parent family structure, and having a mother with mental health problems. In conclusion, childhood mental health problems are common and disproportionally affect children with fewer family and health care resources. Families frequently report burden, especially if the mental health problem is moderate to severe, but the correlates of family burden are not the same correlates associated with mental health problems. Understanding those highest at risk for mental health problems and family burden will help assist clinicians and policy makers to ensure appropriate support systems for children and families.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined factors related to treatment responders (n=35) and nonresponders (n=16) in a group of 51 children admitted to the Intensive Mental Health Program (IMHP). Children’s response to treatment was coded based on their functioning at intake and discharge using total CAFAS scores. Demographic variables, length of treatment, number of diagnoses and medications, and history of physical/emotional abuse or neglect did not significantly distinguish between responders and nonresponders. Nonresponders were more likely to present with a history of suspected or confirmed sexual abuse, internalizing diagnoses, or comorbid internalizing and externalizing diagnoses. Although the small sample size may limit interpretations, our findings indicate treatment programs need augmentation when children with serious emotional disturbances (SED) may be at risk for not responding to interventions.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2007 · Journal of Child and Family Studies
Show more