High rates of mental disorders have been found in detained juvenile offenders, whereas the role of psychopathology in non-detained offenders is less clear. Therefore, the present study compared psychopathology in male non-detained delinquent juveniles and two matched samples from the community and an adolescent psychiatric clinic.
125 male adolescents aged 11 to 19 years (m = 16.2 years, SD = 1.5 years) from an outpatient adolescent forensic clinic were compared to a community sample from the Zurich Adolescent Psychology and Psychopathology Study (ZAPPS) and a referred sample from a psychiatric clinic matched for age and nationality. All subjects responded to questionnaires measuring internalizing and externalizing problems, depressive symptoms and self-esteem.
The sample of non-detained juvenile offenders showed similar rates of self-reported internalizing and externalizing problems when compared to the community sample, whereas the clinic sample displayed an increased rate of various disturbances. Similar results were found also for self-esteem. In agreement with these findings, non-detained juvenile offenders less frequently had a psychiatric diagnosis after full clinical assessment when compared to the clinical sample. However, a diagnosis of conduct disorders and a lower IQ range was found more frequently in non-detained juvenile offenders. Offenders with serious delinquent acts and involving weapons showed higher depression scores than the rest of the offenders.
In non-detained assessment situations before court examination, juvenile offenders present rather normal behaviour. Their lack of awareness of potential behavioural problems should be considered during assessment and treatment of this group of offenders.
Juvenile offenders; Internalizing and externalizing problems; Depression; Self-esteem
The editors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in volume 6 (2012).
Given that relatively little is known about the development of resilience in early childhood, this longitudinal study aimed to identify preschool resource factors associated with young children’s mental health resilience to family adversity.
A community sample of 474 young Australian children was assessed in preschool (mean age 4.59 years, 49% male), and again two years later after their transition into formal schooling. At each assessment, standard questionnaires were used to obtain ratings from both parents and teachers about the quality of children’s relationships with parents and teachers, children’s self-concept and self-control, mental health (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire), and family adversities (including stressful life events and socioeconomic disadvantage).
Greater exposure to cumulative family adversities was associated with both greater teacher- and parent-reported child mental health difficulties two years later. Multiple methodologies for operationalizing resilience were used to identify resources associated with resilient mental health outcomes. Higher quality child–parent and child-teacher relationships, and greater child self-concept and self-control were associated with resilient mental health outcomes. With the exception of child-teacher relationships, these resources were also prospective antecedents of subsequent resilient mental health outcomes in children with no pre-existing mental health difficulties. Child–parent relationships and child self-concept generally had promotive effects, being equally beneficial for children facing both low- and high-adversity. Child self-control demonstrated a small protective effect on teacher-reported outcomes, with greater self-control conferring greater protection to children under conditions of high-adversity.
Findings suggest that early intervention and prevention strategies that focus on fostering child-adult relationship quality, self-concept, and self-control in young children may help build children’s mental health and their resilience to family adversities.
Resilience; Early childhood; Family adversity; Mental health; Child-adult relationships; Self
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an increasingly prevalent, clinically significant behavior in adolescents and can be associated with serious consequences for the afflicted person. Emotion regulation is considered its most frequent function. Because the symptoms of NSSI are common and cause impairment, it will be included in Section 3 disorders as a new disorder in the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). So far, research has been conducted mostly with patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) showing self-injurious behavior. Therefore, for this review the current state of research regarding emotion regulation, NSSI, and BPD in adolescents is presented. In particular, the authors focus on studies on facial emotion recognition and facial mimicry, as social interaction difficulties might be a result of not recognizing emotions in facial expressions and inadequate facial mimicry. Although clinical trials investigating the efficacy of psychological treatments for NSSI among adolescents are lacking, especially those targeting the capacity to cope with emotions, clinical implications of the improvement in implicit and explicit emotion regulation in the treatment of NSSI is discussed. Given the impact of emotion regulation skills on the effectiveness of psychotherapy, neurobiological and psychophysiological outcome variables should be included in clinical trials.
Non-suicidal self-injury; Emotion regulation; Facial emotion recognition; Facial mimicry; Borderline personality disorder
The most effective way to provide support to caregivers with infants in order to promote good health, social, emotional and developmental outcomes is the subject of numerous debates in the literature. In Canada, each province adopts a different approach which range from universal to targeted programs. Nonetheless, each year a group of vulnerable infants is identified to the child welfare system with concerns about their well-being and safety. This study examines maltreatment-related investigations in Canada involving children under the age of one year to identify which factors determine service provision at the conclusion of the investigation.
A secondary analysis of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect CIS-2008 (PHAC, 2010) dataset was conducted. Multivariate analyses were conducted to understand the profile of investigations involving infants (n=1,203) and which predictors were significant in the decision to transfer a case to ongoing services at the conclusion of the investigation. Logistic Regression and Classification and Regression Trees (CART) were conducted to examine the relationship between the outcome and predictors.
The results suggest that there are three main sources that refer infants to the Canadian child welfare system: hospital, police, and non-professionals. Infant maltreatment-related investigations involve young caregivers who struggle with poverty, single-parenthood, drug/solvent and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, lack of social supports, and intimate partner violence. Across the three referral sources, primary caregiver risk factors are the strongest predictor of the decision to transfer a case to ongoing services.
Multivariate analyses indicate that the presence of infant concerns does not predict ongoing service provision, except when the infant is identified with positive toxicology at birth. The opportunity for early intervention and the need to tailor interventions for specific caregiver risk factors is discussed.
Child welfare; Child maltreatment; Infants; Young parents; Referral source; Decision-making; Ongoing services
Recent guidelines concerning the treatment of personality disorders (PDs) recommend diagnosing PDs in adolescents. However, it remains unclear whether these guidelines influence the current opinions and practices of mental health care professionals.
Five hundred sixty-six psychologists completed an online survey concerning PDs in adolescents, of whom 367 professionals reported working with adolescents. The survey contained demographical questions (age, gender, profession, work setting) and specific questions related to PD in adolescence.
Although a majority of psychologists working with adolescents acknowledged the existence of PDs in adolescents (57.8%), only a small minority diagnoses PDs in adolescence (8.7%) and offers a treatment specifically aimed at targeting PD pathology (6.5%). Reasons for not diagnosing PDs in adolescence mainly concerned the belief that adolescent personality problems are transient (41.2%) and that the DSM-IV-TR does not allow diagnosing PDs in adolescence (25.9%).
Although practice guidelines might have influenced clinicians’ opinions about PDs in adolescence, they have had little impact so far on routine clinical practice.
Personality disorders; Adolescents; Psychologists; Online survey
This study explored the prevalence and severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in college students who lived in earthquake center one year after the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, the factors affecting the prevalence of PTSD was also investigated.
2987 students studying at the senior normal school in Tibetan autonomous region which was one of the most devastated regions were selected for this study. The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) was used as a screening instrument.
A total of 420 cases (14.1%) were diagnosed with PTSD, among which mild, moderate, severe and extreme symptoms were reported in 122, 185, 106 and 7 cases, respectively. The PTSD prevalence in college students lived in the severely affected area was significantly higher than that in the less severe area (P < 0.001). According to the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the students who were injured in the earthquake, those lost their first degree relative, and those confronted with dead bodies were more likely to express PTSD. Male students were more prone than female students to develop PTSD. However, the students who received psychological tutorship were less prone to express PTSD.
At one year after the earthquake, the PTSD rate in college students in the severely affected area was high. The social support, psychological help and rehabilitation project should be strengthened to improve their ability to cope with the trauma.
China; Disaster; Mental health; PTSD; Prevalence
Mental disorders are classified by two major nosological systems, the ICD-10 and the DSM-IV-TR, consisting of different diagnostic criteria. The present study investigated the diagnostic concordance between the two systems for anxiety disorders in childhood and adolescence, in particular for separation anxiety disorder (SAD), specific phobia, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
A structured clinical interview, the Kinder-DIPS, was administered to 210 children and 258 parents. The percentage of agreement, kappa, and Yule’s Y coefficients were calculated for all diagnoses. Specific criteria causing discrepancies between the two classification systems were identified.
DSM-IV-TR consistently classified more children than ICD-10 with an anxiety disorder, with a higher concordance between DSM-IV-TR and the ICD-10 child section (F9) than with the adult section (F4) of the ICD-10. This result was found for all four investigated anxiety disorders. The results revealed low to high levels of concordance and poor to good agreement between the classification systems, depending on the anxiety disorder.
The two classification systems identify different children with an anxiety disorder. However, it remains an open question, whether the research results can be generalized to clinical practice since DSM-IV-TR is mainly used in research while ICD-10 is widely established in clinical practice in Europe. Therefore, the population investigated by the DSM (research population) is not identical with the population examined using the ICD (clinical population).
ICD-10; DSM-IV-TR; Separation anxiety disorder; Specific phobia; Social phobia; Generalized anxiety disorder; Diagnostic criteria
Peer groups identified through the Internet have played an important role in facilitating school shootings. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the adolescents who had expressed a school massacre threat online differed from those who had expressed one offline.
A nationwide explorative study was conducted on a group of 77 13- to 18-year-old adolescents sent for adolescent psychiatric evaluation between November 2007 and June 2009 by their general practitioners because they had threatened to carry out a school massacre. According to the referrals and medical files, 17 adolescents expressed the threat online and 60 did so offline.
The adolescents who expressed their threats online were more likely to be bullied and depressed, had more often pronounced the threat with clear intention and had more often made preparations to carry out the act. In contrast, the adolescents who expressed their threats offline were more likely to have problems with impulse control and had showed delinquent behavior prior to the massacre threats.
The Finnish adolescents who expressed their massacre threats online could be considered a riskier group than the group who expressed the threats offline. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to elucidate this important topic.
School massacre threat; School shootings; Adolescence; Internet; Online; Violent ideation
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) has been shown to be an evidence based alternative to residential rearing and an effective method to improve behavior and attachment of foster children in the US. This preliminary study investigated an application of MTFC for preschoolers (MTFC-P) in the Netherlands focusing on behavioral outcomes in course of the intervention. To examine the following hypothesis: “the time in the MTFC-P intervention predicts a decline in problem behavior”, as this is the desired outcome for children assigned to MTFC-P, we assessed the daily occurrence of 38 problem behaviors via telephone interviews. Repeated measures revealed significant reduced problem behavior in course of the program. MTFC-P promises to be a treatment model suitable for high-risk foster children, that is transferable across centres and countries.
Netherlands Trial Register: 1747.
Foster care; Preschool aged children; Behavioral problems; Attachment disturbances; Intervention
Few studies have explored the association between social context and suicidal ideation using multilevel models. This study examines how suicidal ideation in adolescence is related to school class composition.
Data were obtained from the Young-HUNT 3 study (2006–2008), a population study of adolescents attending secondary school in the Norwegian county of Nord-Trøndelag. The final sample included 2923 adolescents distributed among 379 school classes in 13 schools. Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate the contribution of various factors at the individual and school class levels.
The results indicate that 5.3 percent of the variation in suicidal ideation can be attributed to differences between school classes. However, a substantial part of this variation can be explained by an unequal distribution of students at risk as a result of individual factors. After controlling for individual-level variables, the results show a higher probability of suicidal ideation in school classes having higher proportions of girls as well as in those following a vocational education programme.
Targeting classes that either follow a vocational education programme or have a high proportion of girls can be an effective approach to intervention because such classes may include a greater number of students at risk for having suicidal thoughts compared to classes with a high proportion of boys or classes following a general education programme.
Suicidal ideation; Adolescence; School class; HUNT study; Multilevel analyses
The study aimed to investigate phenomenology, psychiatric comorbidity, and family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in a clinical sample of normally developing preschool children with OCD.
Subjects in this study were recruited from a clinical sample of preschool children (under 72 months of age) who were referred to a university clinic. Subjects with a normal developmental history and significant impairment related to OCD symptoms were included in the study. Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale was used to assess OCD symptoms. Each subject was assessed for comorbid DSM-IV psychiatric disorders using a semi-structured interview. Parents were evaluated for lifetime history of OCD in individual sessions.
Fifteen boys and ten girls (age range: 28 to 69 months; 54.12±9.08 months) were included. Mean age of onset of OCD was 35.64±13.42 months. All subjects received at least one comorbid diagnosis. The most frequent comorbid disorders were non-OCD anxiety disorders (n=17; 68.0%), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (n=15; 60.0%), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) (n=12; 48.0%), and tic disorders (n=6; 24.0%). Mean number of comorbid disorders was 3.65 and 2.35 for boys and girls, respectively. At least one parent received lifetime OCD diagnosis in 68 percent of the subjects.
The results indicated that OCD in referred preschool children is more common in males, highly comorbid with other psychiatric disorders, and associated with high rates of family history of OCD. Given the high rates of comorbidity and family history, OCD should be considered in referred preschool children with disruptive behavior disorders and/or with family history of OCD.
Children; Preschool; Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Comorbidity; Family history
Traumatization in childhood can result in lifelong health impairment and may have a negative impact on other areas of life such as education, social contacts and employment as well. Despite the frequent occurrence of traumatization, which is reflected in a 14.5 percent prevalence rate of severe child abuse and neglect, the economic burden of the consequences is hardly known. The objective of this prevalence-based cost-of-illness study is to show how impairment of the individual is reflected in economic trauma follow-up costs borne by society as a whole in Germany and to compare the results with other countries’ costs.
From a societal perspective trauma follow-up costs were estimated using a bottom-up approach. The literature-based prevalence rate includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse as well as physical and emotional neglect in Germany. Costs are derived from individual case scenarios of child endangerment presented in a German cost-benefit-analysis. A comparison with trauma follow-up costs in Australia, Canada and the USA is based on purchasing power parity.
The annual trauma follow-up costs total to a margin of EUR 11.1 billion for the lower bound and to EUR 29.8 billion for the upper bound. This equals EUR 134.84 and EUR 363.58, respectively, per capita for the German population. These results conform to the ones obtained from cost studies conducted in Australia (lower bound) and Canada (upper bound), whereas the result for the United States is much lower.
Child abuse and neglect result in trauma follow-up costs of economically relevant magnitude for the German society. Although the result is well in line with other countries’ costs, the general lack of data should be fought in order to enable more detailed future studies. Creating a reliable cost data basis in the first place can pave the way for long-term cost savings.
Trauma follow-up costs; Trauma-related disorder; Cost of illness; Societal costs; Childhood traumatization; Child abuse; Child neglect; Child maltreatment
The aims of the present study were to assess symptoms associated with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children with neurological disorders as reported by parents and teachers on the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ), as well as the level of agreement between informants for each child.
The ASSQ was completed by parents and teachers of the 5781 children (11–13 years) who participated in the second wave of the Bergen Child Study (BCS), an on-going longitudinal population-based study. Out of these children, 496 were reported to have a chronic illness, including 99 whom had a neurological disorder. The neurological disorder group included children both with and without intellectual disabilities.
Children with neurological disorders obtained significantly higher parent and teacher reported ASSQ scores than did non-chronically ill children and those with other chronic illnesses (p<.01; ES = .50-1.01), and 14.1% were screened above the positive cutoff score for ASD according to their combined parent and teacher ASSQ scores. Parent/teacher agreement over ASSQ scores for children with neurological disorders was moderate to high for the total score and for three sub scores generated from a factor analysis, and low to moderate for single items.
The ASSQ identifies a high rate of ASD symptoms in children with neurological disorders, and a large number of children screened in the positive range for ASD. Although a firm conclusion awaits further clinical studies, the present results suggest that health care professionals should be aware of potential ASD related problems in children with neurological disorders, and should consider inclusion of the ASSQ or similar screening instruments as part of their routine assessment of this group of children.
Children; Neurological disorders; Autism spectrum symptoms; The Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire
The objective of this study was to examine the impact of co-occurring social and emotional difficulties on missed school days and healthcare utilization among children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Data were from the 2007 U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and were based on parental proxy responses to questions in the Sample Child Core, which includes questions on demographics, health, healthcare treatment, and social and emotional status as measured by questions about depression, anxiety, and phobias, as well as items from the brief version of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Logistic regression was used to assess the association between co-occurring social and emotional difficulties with missed school days and healthcare utilization, adjusting for demographics.
Of the 5896 children aged 6–17 years in the 2007 NHIS, 432 (7.3%) had ADHD, based on parental report. Children with ADHD and comorbid depression, anxiety, or phobias had significantly greater odds of experiencing > 2 weeks of missed school days, ≥ 6 visits to a healthcare provider (HCP), and ≥ 2 visits to the ER, compared with ADHD children without those comorbidities (OR range: 2.1 to 10.4). Significantly greater odds of missed school days, HCP visits, and ER visits were also experienced by children with ADHD who were worried, unhappy/depressed, or having emotional difficulties as assessed by the SDQ, compared with ADHD children without those difficulties (OR range: 2.2 to 4.4).
In children with ADHD, the presence of social and emotional problems resulted in greater odds of missed school days and healthcare utilization. These findings should be viewed in light of the limited nature of the parent-report measures used to assess social and emotional problems.
Comorbidities; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Resource use; Outcomes
Much is written about cognitive and motor development; less is known about social and emotional consequences of growing up with congenital hypothyroidism (CH).
The objectives of the study were: (1) to compare health related quality of life (HRQoL) and self-worth of 10 year old patients with CH with the general population; (2) to explore associations of disease factors, IQ and motor skills with the outcomes.
Children with CH and their parents completed several questionnaires. Patients were classified to ‘severe CH, n = 41’ or ‘moderate/mild CH, n = 41’ based on pre-treatment FT4 concentration.
Differences between CH and the general population were tested by analysis of covariance and one sample t-tests (mean scale scores HRQoL and self-worth), chi-square tests and binomial tests (% at risk of impaired HRQoL and self-worth). Linear regression analyses corrected for gender were conducted to explore associations of the outcomes with disease factors, IQ and motor skills.
Patients with CH reported lower mean HRQoL on motor, cognitive and social functioning, and on autonomy and positive emotions (p < 0.0001). Patients were also more often at risk for impaired HRQoL and self-worth. No differences were found between the severity groups. Lower IQ was only significant associated with worse cognitive HRQoL. Initial FT4 plasma, age at onset of therapy, initial T4 dose and motor skills were not significantly associated with HRQoL and self-worth.
Negative consequences in terms of HRQoL and self-worth are prevalent in children with CH, independent of disease factors, IQ and motor skills. Physicians should to be attentive to these consequences and provide attention and supportive care.
Congenital hypothyroidism; Quality of life; Self-worth; Children
The strategies that parents use to guide and discipline their children may influence their emotional health. Relatively little research has been conducted examining the association of parenting practices to depressive symptoms among Caribbean adolescents. This project examines the association of parenting styles to levels of depressive symptoms among adolescents in Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent.
Adolescents attending grade ten of academic year 2006/2007 in Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Vincent, and St. Kitts and Nevis were administered the Parenting Practices Scale along with the BDI-II. Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Neglectful parenting styles were created using a median split procedure of the monitoring and nurturance subscales of the Parenting Practices Scale. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships of parenting styles to depressive symptoms.
A wide cross-section of tenth grade students in each nation was sampled (n = 1955; 278 from Jamaica, 217 from the Bahamas, 737 St. Kitts and Nevis, 716 from St. Vincent; 52.1% females, 45.6% males and 2.3% no gender reported; age 12 to 19 years, mean = 15.3 yrs, sd = .95 yrs). Nearly half (52.1%) of all adolescents reported mild to severe symptoms of depression with 29.1% reporting moderate to severe symptoms of depression. In general, authoritative and permissive parenting styles were both associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms in adolescents. However, the relationship of parenting styles to depression scores was not consistent across countries (p < .05). In contrast to previous research on Caribbean parenting, caregivers in this study used a mixture of different parenting styles with the two most popular styles being authoritative and neglectful parenting.
There appears to be an association between parenting styles and depressive symptoms that is differentially manifested across the islands of Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent.
Parenting; Caribbean nations; Depressive symptoms; Adolescents
In the present paper, we describe suicide in youths under 16 years of age and compare their risk factors for suicide to those of older adolescents as described in the literature. Furthermore, we evaluate the possible mislabeling of suicides as accidents, and vice versa.
We used the data from a nationwide psychological autopsy of youths 15 years and younger who had committed suicide or died in accidents in Norway from 1993 to 2004 (n = 84). We additionally constructed a suicide index to distinguish between the two causes of death.
The young suicide victims presented, with little gender difference, fewer obvious risk factors and less suicide intent than commonly described for older adolescents. The suicide index distinguished quite well between suicides and accidents, with few cases indicating a possible mislabeling, although some suicide cases could have been labeled as uncertain.
In line with previous research, suicides in 11-15-year-olds have many similarities to suicides in older adolescents in terms of external circumstances, but they present less apparent warning signs. In our total sample of 84 deaths, there were few indications of incorrect labeling.
Children; Adolescent; Suicide; Accident; Suicide intent; Labeling
A combination of multiple factors, including a strong genetic predisposition and environmental factors, are considered to contribute to the developmental pathways to borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, these factors have mostly been investigated retrospectively, and hardly in adolescents. The current study focuses on maternal factors in BPD features in adolescence.
Actual parenting was investigated in a group of referred adolescents with BPD features (N = 101) and a healthy control group (N = 44). Self-reports of perceived concurrent parenting were completed by the adolescents. Questionnaires on parental psychopathology (both Axis I and Axis II disorders) were completed by their mothers.
Adolescents reported significantly less emotional warmth, more rejection and more overprotection from their mothers in the BPD-group than in the control group. Mothers in the BPD group reported significantly more parenting stress compared to mothers in the control group. Also, these mothers showed significantly more general psychopathology and clusters C personality traits than mothers in the control group. Contrary to expectations, mothers of adolescents with BPD features reported the same level of cluster B personality traits, compared to mothers in the control group. Hierarchical logistic regression revealed that parental rearing styles (less emotional warmth, and more overprotection) and general psychopathology of the mother were the strongest factors differentiating between controls and adolescents with BPD symptoms.
Adolescents with BPD features experience less emotional warmth and more overprotection from their mothers, while the mothers themselves report more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Addition of family interventions to treatment programs for adolescents might increase the effectiveness of such early interventions, and prevent the adverse outcome that is often seen in adult BPD patients.
Borderline personality disorder; Adolescent; Rearing styles; Maternal psychopathology
There is dearth of data on the level of functional impairment and risk factors for psychiatric morbidity in children attending primary care services in developing countries like Nigeria. The risk factors for psychiatric morbidity and functional impairment in children attending the primary care unit of a teaching hospital in Ilorin, Nigeria was therefore investigated to obtain data that could be used in improving service provision by primary care physicians.
A cross-sectional two-stage design was employed for the study. The first stage involved administration of the Child Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ) to 350 children while the children’s version of the schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia was used for the second stage involving 157 children, all high scorers on CBQ (score of ≥ 7) and 30% of low scorers (score < 7). Diagnosis of psychiatric disorders was based on DSM-IV criteria.
In addition, the Children Global Assessment Scale was used to assess the functional status of the children (score of ≤ 70 indicates functional impairment) while the mothers’ mental health status was assessed with the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire, a score of 3 or more on this instrument indicate presence of mental morbidity.
It was observed that 11.4% of the children had diagnosable psychiatric disorders and 7.1% were functionally impaired; and those with psychiatric disorders were more functionally impaired than those without. Thus, significant negative correlation was noted between CBQ scores and CGAS (r = 0.53; p < 0.001). Following logistic regression, younger age of children, frequent hospital attendance and maternal parenting distress independently predicted psychiatric morbidity while child psychopathology and maternal parenting distress predicted functional impairment.
Child psychiatric disorders are prevalent in the primary care unit studied. Many of the risk factors identified in the study population are modifiable. Collaborative efforts between psychiatrists and primary care physicians could therefore help to reduce level of risk and functional impairment and psychiatric morbidity among children attending the primary care unit studied. It could also help improve referral rates of difficult cases to the child and adolescent psychiatric unit of the hospital.
Psychiatric disorders; Functional impairment and risk factors; Primary care children, Nigeria
In the continuing revision of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) “identity” is integrated as a central diagnostic criterion for personality disorders (self-related personality functioning). According to Kernberg, identity diffusion is one of the core elements of borderline personality organization. As there is no elaborated self-rating inventory to assess identity development in healthy and disturbed adolescents, we developed the AIDA (Assessment of Identity Development in Adolescence) questionnaire to assess this complex dimension, varying from “Identity Integration” to “Identity Diffusion”, in a broad and substructured way and evaluated its psychometric properties in a mixed school and clinical sample.
Test construction was deductive, referring to psychodynamic as well as social-cognitive theories, and led to a special item pool, with consideration for clarity and ease of comprehension. Participants were 305 students aged 12–18 attending a public school and 52 adolescent psychiatric inpatients and outpatients with diagnoses of personality disorders (N = 20) or other mental disorders (N = 32). Convergent validity was evaluated by covariations with personality development (JTCI 12–18 R scales), criterion validity by differences in identity development (AIDA scales) between patients and controls.
AIDA showed excellent total score (Diffusion: α = .94), scale (Discontinuity: α = .86; Incoherence: α = .92) and subscale (α = .73-.86) reliabilities. High levels of Discontinuity and Incoherence were associated with low levels in Self Directedness, an indicator of maladaptive personality functioning. Both AIDA scales were significantly different between PD-patients and controls with remarkable effect sizes (d) of 2.17 and 1.94 standard deviations.
AIDA is a reliable and valid instrument to assess normal and disturbed identity in adolescents. Studies for further validation and for obtaining population norms are in progress and may provide insight in the relevant aspects of identity development in differentiating specific psychopathology and therapeutic focus and outcome.
Identity; Questionnaire; Overview; Psychometrics; Personality disorder; Adolescence
Although there has been some empirical research on ethics concerning the attitudes and approaches of staff in relation to adult patients, there is very little to be found on child and adolescent psychiatric care. In most cases researchers have defined which issues are important, for instance, coercive care. The aim of this study was to provide a qualitative description of situations and experiences that gave rise to ethical problems and considerations as reported by staff members on child and adolescent psychiatric wards, although they were not provided with a definition of the concept.
The study took place in six child and adolescent psychiatric wards in Sweden. All staff members involved with patients on these wards were invited to participate. The staff members were asked to keep an ethical diary over the course of one week, and data collection comprised the diaries handed in by 68 persons. Qualitative content analysis was used in order to analyse the diaries.
In the analysis three themes emerged; 1) good care 2) loyalty and 3) powerlessness. The theme ‘good care’ contains statements about the ideal of commitment but also about problems living up to the ideal. Staff members emphasized the importance of involving patients and parents in the care, but also of the need for professional distance. Participants seldom perceived decisions about coercive measures as problematic, in contrast to those about pressure and restrictions, especially in the case of patients admitted for voluntary care. The theme ‘loyalty’ contains statements in which staff members perceived contradictory expectations from different interested parties, mainly parents but also their supervisor, doctors, colleagues and the social services. The theme ‘powerlessness’ contains statements about situations that create frustration, in which freedom of action is perceived as limited and can concern inadequacy in relation to patients and violations in the workplace.
The ethical considerations described by child and adolescent psychiatric care staff are multifaceted and remarkably often concern problems of loyalty and organization. These problems frequently had a considerable influence on the care provided. It seems that staff members lack a language of ethics and require both an ethical education and a forum for discussion of ethical issues.
Staff; Child and adolescent psychiatric care; Ethical considerations; Diary method; Qualitative content analysis; Ethical issues
Childhood depression affects the morbidity, mortality and life functions of children. Individual, family and environmental factors have been documented as psychosocial risk factors for childhood depression, especially family violence, which results in inadequate support, low family cohesion and poor communication. This study investigates the association between psychosocial depression factors in low-income schoolchildren and reveals the potential trouble spots, highlighting several forms of violence that take place within the family context.
The study was based on a cross-sectional analysis of 464 schoolchildren aged between 6 and 10, selected by random sampling from a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Socio-economic, family and individual variables were investigated on the strength of the caregivers’ information and organized in blocks for analysis. A binary logistic regression model was applied, according to hierarchical blocks.
The final hierarchical regression analysis showed that the following variables are potential psychosocial factors associated with depression in childhood: average/poor relationship with the father (OR 3.24, 95% CI 1.32-7.94), high frequency of victimization by psychological violence (humiliation) (OR 6.13, 95% CI 2.06-18.31), parental divorce (OR 2.89, 95% CI 1.14-7.32) and externalizing behavior problems (OR 3.53 IC 1.51-8.23).
The results point to multiple determinants of depressive behavior in children, as well as the potential contribution of psychological family violence. The study also reveals potential key targets for early intervention, especially for children from highly vulnerable families.
Depression; Children; Violence; Abuse
It is estimated that world-wide up to 20 % of children suffer from debilitating mental illness. Mental disorders that pose a significant concern include learning disorders, hyperkinetic disorders (ADHD), depression, psychosis, pervasive development disorders, attachment disorders, anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, substance abuse and eating disorders. Living with such children can be very stressful for caregivers in the family. Therefore, determination of challenges of living with these children is important in the process of finding ways to help or support caregivers to provide proper care for their children. The purpose of this study was to explore the psychological and emotional, social, and economic challenges that parents or guardians experience when caring for mentally ill children and what they do to address or deal with them.
A qualitative study design using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions was applied. The study was conducted at the psychiatric unit of Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania. Two focus groups discussions (FGDs) and 8 in-depth interviews were conducted with caregivers who attended the psychiatric clinic with their children. Data analysis was done using content analysis.
The study revealed psychological and emotional, social, and economic challenges caregivers endure while living with mentally ill children. Psychological and emotional challenges included being stressed by caring tasks and having worries about the present and future life of their children. They had feelings of sadness, and inner pain or bitterness due to the disturbing behaviour of the children. They also experienced some communication problems with their children due to their inability to talk. Social challenges were inadequate social services for their children, stigma, burden of caring task, lack of public awareness of mental illness, lack of social support, and problems with social life. The economic challenges were poverty, child care interfering with various income generating activities in the family, and extra expenses associated with the child’s illness.
Caregivers of mentally ill children experience various psychological and emotional, social, and economic challenges. Professional assistance, public awareness of mental illnesses in children, social support by the government, private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are important in addressing these challenges.
Parents’ challenges; Caregivers challenges; Children; Mental disorders; Mental illness; Africa; Tanzania
Vitamin B12 is one of the essential vitamins affecting various systems of the body. Reports of psychiatric disorders due to its deficiency mostly focus on middle aged and elderly patients. Here we report a case of vitamin B 12 deficiency in a 16-year old, male adolescent who presented with mixed mood disorder symptoms with psychotic features. Chief complaints were “irritability, regressive behavior, apathy, crying and truancy” which lasted for a year. Premorbid personality was unremarkable with no substance use/exposure or infections. No stressors were present. The patient was not vegetarian. Past medical history and family history was normal. Neurological examination revealed glossitis, ataxia, rigidity in both shoulders, cog-wheel rigidity in the left elbow, bilateral problems of coordination in cerebellar examination, reduced swinging of the arms and masked face. Romberg’s sign was present. Laboratory evaluations were normal. Endoscopy and biopsy revealed atrophy of the gastric mucosa with Helicobacter Pylori colonization. Schilling test was suggestive of malabsorbtion. He was diagnosed with Mood disorder with Mixed, Psychotic Features due to Vitamin B12 Deficiency and risperidone 0.5 mg/day and intramuscular vitamin B12 500 mcg/day were started along with referral for treatment of Helicobacter pylori. A visit on the second week revealed no psychotic features. Romberg’s sign was negative and cerebellar tests were normal. Extrapyramidal symptoms were reduced while Vitamin B12 levels were elevated. Risperidone was stopped and parenteral Vitamin B12 treatment was continued with monthly injections for 3 months. Follow-up endoscopy and biopsy at the first month demonstrated eradication of H. pylori. He was followed monthly for another 6 months and psychiatric symptoms did not recur at the time of last evaluation. Despite limitations, this case may underline the observation that mood disorders with psychotic features especially with accompanying extrapyramidal symptoms lacking a clear etiology may be rare manifestation of vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency in children and adolescents and be potentially amenable to treatment.
Vitamin B12; psychosis; mood disorder; extrapyramidal symptoms