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Eleven general practitioners recorded information on relevant psychological and social factors on 1,127 consecutive attendances of children and adolescents under the age of 18 years. The proportion of 'pure' psychological problems was low (3·5 per cent of all attendances), but in 25·7 per cent of attendances a psychological component to the presenting problem existed. Non-specific 'emotional' problems were the most frequent psychological symptoms noted, but management problems in infancy and early childhood were also common. There were significant differences between practitioners in the proportion of 'purely physical' diagnoses made and in action taken at the time of attendance. The findings suggest that paediatric training of general practitioners should contain a considerable child psychiatric component.