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Predictors of contact with services for mental health problems among children with comorbid long-term physical health conditions: a follow-up study.

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Repository DOI


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Authors

White, Simon R 
Howdle, Charlotte 
Bennett, Sophie 
Heyman, Isobel 

Abstract

Children with long-term physical health conditions (pLTCs) are at increased risk of developing mental health comorbidities, although most do not access services for their mental health. No previous studies have examined the determinants of contact with services for mental health concerns among this group of children. This 3-year longitudinal study involved a population-based sample of children aged 5-16 years from the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys conducted in 1999 and 2004. In children with comorbid pLTCs and mental health disorders at baseline (N = 397), we examined associations between several child-, family- and service-related factors and (a) contact with primary health care, (b) contact with paediatrics and (c) contact with child and adolescent mental health services over 3-year follow-up (2002 and 2007). Separate multivariable binary logistic regressions were conducted for each service. The impact of mental health difficulties on the child and contact with the teacher predicted contact with all three services. Adolescent age, female gender, larger family size, some or marked academic difficulties, and having parents with educational qualification(s) were specific predictors of contact with primary health care. Male gender, stressful life events, and contact with primary health care were specific predictors of contact with child and adolescent mental health services. No other factors predicted contact with paediatrics. Our findings highlight the role of child-, family-, and service-related factors in accessing mental health care in children with comorbid pLTCs and mental health disorders which could inform planning and provision of services to reduce unmet mental health needs.

Description

Acknowledgements: We thank the Young Persons Advisory Group based at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for providing input to the study from a patient’s point of view. We thank Dr Birgit Westphal, Professor Elena Garralda, Dr Nancy Bostock, and Professor Russell Viner for providing input to the study from an expert’s point of view.

Keywords

Children, Follow-up, Mental health, Physical health, Predictors, Service contact, Adolescent, Humans, Child, Male, Female, Mental Health, Follow-Up Studies, Longitudinal Studies, Mental Disorders, Mental Health Services, Health Services Accessibility

Journal Title

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1018-8827
1435-165X

Volume Title

33

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Sponsorship
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
MRC (MR/V027751/1)
Medical Research Council (G108/625)