Abstract and Keywords
This chapter provides background on the discipline of epidemiology and its contribution to our understanding of childhood mental disorders. A summary is provided of data on the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders in children and adolescents in community surveys. Anxiety disorders are the most frequent conditions in children, followed by behavior disorders, mood disorders, and substance use disorders. About half of youth with one disorder also meet criteria for a second disorder, demonstrating the pervasive nature of comorbidity even in childhood. Less than half of youth with current mental disorders receive mental health specialty treatment. However, those with the most severe disorders tend to receive mental health services. Current issues that are now being identified in the field of child psychiatric epidemiology includes refinement of classification and assessment; integration of child and adult psychiatric epidemiology; and evaluation of both mental and medical disorders in children.
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