The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire is a usable way to address mental health at well-child visits in general practice - a qualitative study of feasibility.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Mental health problems is frequent among children and psychopathology in early childhood seems to predict mental disorders in adulthood. All Danish children are offered seven free well-child visits at their General Practitioner (GP) during their first 5 years of life. GPs have a unique position to address mental health problems at the well-child visits, but they lack a systematic approach when assessing children's mental health. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a usable way to address preschool children's mental health in general practice. METHODS:A qualitative study of feasibility. Parents completed an online version of the SDQ at home. At the well-child visit, the GP used the SDQ results as a basis for a talk about the child's mental health. Afterwards the author JS conducted semistructured interviews with both the parent and the GP over the phone. The interviews were descriptively analyzed using the Framework Approach. RESULTS:Five primary care centres with 22 general practitioners in both Copenhagen and Region Zealand participated. Twenty four parents completed the SDQ and were interviewed. Participating parents and GPs agreed, that the SDQ introduced mental health as a natural and important part of the well-child visit. Online access had clear advantages: time for reflection at home and preparation, plus a clear result summary for the GP. Some of the GPs were worried that the questionnaire would be too time consuming, and might compromise the individualistic style of general practice. Some parents were worried if children with minor problems would be diagnosed. CONCLUSIONS:The online SDQ was well-accepted and feasible in daily practice. Implementing the SDQ into the well-child visit could strengthen the focus on the child's mental health. However, before the SDQ can be generally implemented a guideline on how to utilize it in the well-child visit is needed, as well as studies of efficacy in this setting. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Not relevant.
Project description:Objective To investigate parents' experiences of follow-up by general practitioners (GPs) of children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and comorbid behavioural and/or psychological problems. Design Qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with parents of children with ID and a broad range of accompanying health problems. Setting County centred study in Norway involving primary and specialist care. Participants Nine parents of seven children with ID, all received services from an assigned GP and a specialist hospital department. Potential participants were identified by the specialist hospital department and purposefully selected by the authors to represent both genders and a range of diagnoses, locations and assigned GPs. Results Three clusters of experiences emerged from the analysis: expectations, relationships and actual use. The participants had low expectations of the GPs' competence and involvement with their child, and primarily used the GP for the treatment of simple somatic problems. Only one child regularly visited their GP for general and mental health check-ups. The participants' experience of their GPs was that they did not have time and were not interested in the behavioural and mental problems of these children. Conclusions Families with children with ID experience a complex healthcare system in situations where they are vulnerable to lack of information, involvement and competence. GPs are part of a stable service system and are in a position to provide security, help and support to these families. Parents' experiences could be improved by regular health checks for their children and GPs being patient, taking time and showing interest in challenging behaviour.
Project description:To evaluate how parents and physicians perceive the utility of a comprehensive, electronic previsit screener, and to assess its impact on the visit.A mixed methods design was used. English-speaking parents were recruited from 3 primary care systems (urban MD and rural NY and VT) when they presented for a well-child visit with a child 4 to 10 years of age. Parents completed an electronic previsit screen, which included somatic concerns, health risks, and 4 mental health tools (SCARED5, PHQ-2, SDQ Impact, and PSC-17). Parents completed an exit survey, and a subset were interviewed. All primary care providers (PCPs) were interviewed.A total of 120 parents and 16 PCPs participated. The exit surveys showed that nearly 90% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that the screener was easy to use and maintained confidentiality. During interviews, parents noted that the screener helped with recall, validated concerns, reframed issues they thought might not be appropriate for primary care, and raised new questions. PCPs thought that the screener enabled them to normalize sensitive issues, and it permitted them to simultaneously focus and be comprehensive during the visit. Parents and PCPs agreed that the screener helped guide discussion, promoted in-depth exchange, and increased efficiency. Findings were consistent across quantitative and qualitative methods and between parents and PCPs.A comprehensive electronic previsit screening tool is an acceptable and practical strategy to facilitate well-child visits. It may help with problem identification as well as with setting agendas, engaging the family, and balancing attention between somatic and psychosocial concerns.
Project description:Background:The number of immigrants worldwide is growing and migration might be a risk factor for the mental health of children. A reliable instrument is needed to measure immigrants' childrens mental health. The aim of the study was to test the measurement invariance of the parent version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) between German native, Turkish origin and Russian origin immigrant parents in Germany. The SDQ is one of the most frequently used screening instruments for mental health disorders in children. Methods:Differential Item Functioning (DIF) was tested in samples matched by socio-economic status, age and gender of the child. A logistic regression/item response theory hybrid method and a multiple indicators- multiple causes model (MIMIC) was used to test for DIF. Multi Group Confirmatory Factor analysis (MGCFA) was used to test for configural invariance. Parent reports of 10610 German native, 534 Russian origin and 668 Turkish origin parents of children aged 3-17 years were analysed. Results:DIF items were found in both groups and with both methods. We did not find an adequate fit of the original five factor model of the SDQ for the Turkish origin group, but for the Russian origin group. An analysis of functional equivalence indicated that the SDQ is equally useful for the screening of mental health disorders in all three groups. Conclusion:Using the SDQ in order to compare the parent reports of native and immigrant parents should be done cautiously. Thus, the use of the SDQ in epidemiological studies and for prevention planning is questionable. However, the SDQ turns out to be a valid instrument for screening purposes in parents of native and immigrant children.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Well-Child Care (WCC) is the provision of preventive health care services for children and their families. Prior research has highlighted that several barriers exist for the provision of WCC services.<h4>Objectives</h4>To study "real life" visits of parents and children with health professionals in order to enhance the theoretical understanding of factors affecting WCC.<h4>Methods</h4>Participant observations of a cross-sectional sample of 71 visits at three general practices were analysed using a mixed-methods approach.<h4>Results</h4>The median age of the children was 18 months (IQR, 6-36 months), and the duration of visits was 13 mins (IQR, 9-18 mins). The reasons for the visits were immunisation in 13 (18.5%), general check-up in 10 (13.8%), viral illness in 33 (49.2%) and miscellaneous reasons in 15 (18.5%). Two clusters with low and high WCC emerged; WCC was associated with higher GP patient-centeredness scores, younger age of the child, fewer previous visits, immunisation and general check-up visits, and the solo general practitioner setting. Mothers born overseas received less WCC advice, while longer duration of visit increased WCC. GPs often made observations on physical growth and development and negotiated mothers concerns to provide reassurance to them. The working style of the GP which encouraged informal conversations with the parents enhanced WCC. There was a lack of systematic use of developmental screening measures.<h4>Conclusions</h4>GPs and practice nurses are providing parent/child centered WCC in many visits, particularly when parents present for immunisation and general check-ups. Providing funding and practice nurse support to GPs, and aligning WCC activities with all immunisation visits, rather than just a one-off screening approach, appears to be the best way forward. A cluster randomised trial for doing structured WCC activities with immunisation visits would provide further evidence for cost-effectiveness studies to inform policy change.
Project description:Introduction: Child mental health is known to be influenced by parental work hours. Although literature suggests that parent-child interaction mediates the association, few studies have directly measured the parental time of returning home from work. We analyzed data from a school-based survey to examine the association between parental time of returning home from work and child mental health. Methods: We used a sample of 2,987 first-year primary school students derived from the Adachi Child Health Impact of Living Difficulty (A-CHILD) study that examined the impact of family environment and lifestyle on child health in Adachi City, Tokyo, Japan. We analyzed the associations between reported parental time of returning home and the continuous Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) scores using multivariable regression modeling. Results: Children whose parents both returned home late (later than 6 p.m. for the mother and later than 8 p.m. for the father), or at irregular times, had higher scores in total difficulties (? = 1.20, 95% CI: 0.55 to 1.85), the "conduct problems" subscale (? = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.13 to 0.60), and the hyperactivity/inattention subscale (? = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.24 to 0.82) compared with children whose parents both returned home earlier. Mediation analyses indicated that the percentage of the total association between parental time of returning home and the SDQ scores, which was mediated by parent-child interaction, was 20% (95% CI: 10 to 46) for total difficulties, 17% (95% CI: 7 to 49) for conduct problems, and 23% (95% CI: 11 to 52) for hyperactivity/inattention. Conclusions: Late or irregular returning home times for both parents had an adverse effect on child mental health, and the relationship was partly mediated by reduced frequency of parent-child interaction.
Project description:To examine whether the widely used Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) can validly be used to compare the prevalence of child mental health problems cross nationally.We used data on 29,225 5- to 16-year olds in eight population-based studies from seven countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Britain, India, Norway, Russia and Yemen. Parents completed the SDQ in all eight studies, teachers in seven studies and youth in five studies. We used these SDQ data to calculate three different sorts of "caseness indicators" based on (1) SDQ symptoms, (2) SDQ symptoms plus impact and (3) an overall respondent judgement of 'definite' or 'severe' difficulties. Respondents also completed structured diagnostic interviews including extensive open-ended questions (the Development and Well-Being Assessment, DAWBA). Diagnostic ratings were all carried out or supervised by the DAWBA's creator, working in conjunction with experienced local professionals.As judged by the DAWBA, the prevalence of any mental disorder ranged from 2.2% in India to 17.1% in Russia. The nine SDQ caseness indicators (three indicators times three informants) explained 8-56% of the cross-national variation in disorder prevalence. This was insufficient to make meaningful prevalence estimates since populations with a similar measured prevalence of disorder on the DAWBA showed large variations across the various SDQ caseness indicators.The relationship between SDQ caseness indicators and disorder rates varies substantially between populations: cross-national differences in SDQ indicators do not necessarily reflect comparable differences in disorder rates. More generally, considerable caution is required when interpreting cross-cultural comparisons of mental health, particularly when these rely on brief questionnaires.
Project description:Protecting children's mental health is important and studies have shown that diet and exercise can have a positive impact. There are limited data available, however, from representative populations of children on the relationship between regular healthy lifestyle behaviours and psychological health. Data were obtained from the New South Wales Child Population Health Survey, 2013-2014. Parents were asked about diet, physical activity and screen time behaviours and completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) for one child aged 5-15. Higher SDQ scores indicate poorer psychological health and risk for mental health problems. Multivariable linear and logistic regression examined the relationships among dietary consumption, physical activity, screen time and SDQ scores, adjusting for potential confounding. Meeting screen time recommendations was most strongly associated with a lower SDQ total difficulties score (5-10 years: -1.56 (-2.68, -0.44); 11-15 years: -2.12 (-3.11, -1.12)). Children and adolescents who met screen time recommendations were also significantly less likely to have any score in the at-risk range. Children and adolescents meeting vegetable intake guidelines had significantly lower total difficulties scores (5-10 years: -1.54 (-3.03, -0.05); 11-15 years: -1.19 (-3.60, -0.39)), as did adolescents meeting discretionary food guidelines (-1.16 (-2.14, -0.18)) and children consuming the recommended fruit intake (-1.26 (-2.42, -0.10)). Our findings indicate that more effective interventions to increase the proportion of young Australians who meet the guidelines for diet and screen time would contribute to protecting their mental health.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Because most children and adolescents visit their general practitioner (GP) regularly, general practice is a useful setting in which child and adolescent mental health problems can be identified, treated or referred to specialised care. Measures to strengthen Dutch primary mental health care have stimulated cooperation between primary and secondary mental health care and have led to an increase in the provision of social workers and primary care psychologists. These measures may have affected GPs' roles in child and adolescent mental health care. This study aims to investigate the identification and treatment of child and adolescent mental health problems in general practice over a five-year period (2004-2008).<h4>Methods</h4>Data of patients aged 0-18 years (N ranging from 37716 to 73432) were derived from electronic medical records of 42-82 Dutch general practices. Time trends in the prevalence of recorded mental health problems, prescriptions for psychotropic medication, and referrals to primary and secondary mental health care were analysed.<h4>Results</h4>In 2008, 6.6% of children and 7.5% of adolescents were recorded as having mental health problems; 15.2% of these children and 29.4% of these adolescents were prescribed psychotropic medication; 18.9% of these children and 22.9% of these adolescents were referred, mainly to secondary mental health care. Between 2004 and 2008, the percentages of children (chi-square: 22.06; p < 0.001) and adolescents (chi-square: 9.15; p = 0.003) who were diagnosed with mental health problems increased. An increase was also found in the percentage of children who were prescribed psychostimulants (chi-square: 8.29; p = 0.004). Prescriptions for antidepressants decreased over time in both age groups (children: chi-square: 6.80; p = 0.009; adolescents: chi-square: 13.52; p < 0.001). The percentages of children who were referred to primary (chi-square: 6.98; p = 0.008) and secondary mental health care (chi-square: 5.76; p = 0.02) increased over the years, whereas no significant increase was found for adolescents.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Although GPs' identification of mental health problems and referrals to primary mental health care have increased, most referrals are still made to secondary care. To further strengthen primary mental health care, effective short-term interventions for child and adolescent mental health problems that can be applied in general practice need to be developed.
Project description:Previous studies document a mental health advantage in British Indian children, particularly for externalising problems. The causes of this advantage are unknown.Subjects were 13,836 White children and 361 Indian children aged 5-16 years from the English subsample of the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys. The primary mental health outcome was the parent Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Mental health was also assessed using the teacher and child SDQs; diagnostic interviews with parents, teachers and children; and multi-informant clinician-rated diagnoses. Multiple child, family, school and area factors were examined as possible mediators or confounders in explaining observed ethnic differences.Indian children had a large advantage for externalising problems and disorders, and little or no difference for internalising problems and disorders. This was observed across all mental health outcomes, including teacher-reported and diagnostic interview measures. Detailed psychometric analyses provided no suggestion of information bias. The Indian advantage for externalising problems was partly mediated by Indian children being more likely to live in two-parent families and less likely to have academic difficulties. Yet after adjusting for these and all other covariates, the unexplained Indian advantage only reduced by about a quarter (from 1.08 to .71 parent SDQ points) and remained highly significant (p < .001). This Indian advantage was largely confined to families of low socio-economic position.The Indian mental health advantage is real and is specific to externalising problems. Family type and academic abilities mediate part of the advantage, but most is not explained by major risk factors. Likewise unexplained is the absence in Indian children of a socio-economic gradient in mental health. Further investigation of the Indian advantage may yield insights into novel ways to promote child mental health and child mental health equity in all ethnic groups.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>This is a pilot study with the objective of investigating general practitioner (GP) perceptions and experiences in the referral of mentally ill and behaviourally disturbed children and adolescents.<h4>Design</h4>Quantitative analyses on patient databases were used to ascertain the source of referrals into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and identify the relative contribution from GP practices. Qualitative semistructured interviews were then used to explore challenges faced by GPs in referring to CAMHS.<h4>Setting</h4>GPs were chosen from the five localities that deliver CAMHS within the local Trust (Peterborough City, Fenland, Huntingdon, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire).<h4>Participants</h4>For the quantitative portion, data involving 19 466 separate referrals were used. Seven GPs took part in the qualitative interviews.<h4>Results</h4>The likelihood of a referral from GPs being rejected by CAMHS was over three times higher compared to all other referral sources combined within the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. Interviews showed that detecting the signs and symptoms of mental illness in young people is a challenge for GPs. Communication with referral agencies varies and depends on individual relationships. GPs determine whether to refer on a mixture of the presenting conditions and their perceived likelihood of acceptance by CAMHS; the criteria for the latter were poorly understood by the interviewed GPs.<h4>Conclusions</h4>There are longstanding structural weaknesses in the services for children and young people in general, reflected in poor multiagency cooperation at the primary care level. GP-friendly guidelines and standards are required that will aid in decision-making and help with understanding the referrals process. We look to managers of both commissioning and providing organisations, as well as future research, to drive forward the development of tools, protocols, and health service structures to help aid the recognition and treatment of mental illness in young people.