Access to care for children with emotional/behavioral difficulties.


Emotional/behavioral difficulties (EBDs) are increasingly diagnosed in children, constituting some of the most common chronic childhood conditions. Left untreated, EBDs pose long-term individual and population-level consequences. There is a growing evidence of disparities in EBD prevalence by various demographic characteristics. This article builds on this research by examining disparities in access to medical care for children with EBD. From 2008 to 2011, using data from the US National Health Interview Survey (N = 31,631) on sample children aged 4-17, we investigate (1) whether having EBD affects access to care (modeled as delayed care due to cost and difficulty making an appointment) and (2) the role demographic characteristics, health insurance coverage, and frequency of service use play in access to care for children with EBD. Results indicate that children with EBD experience issues in accessing care at more than twice the rate of children without EBD, even though they are less likely to be uninsured than their counterparts without EBD. In multivariable models, children with EBD are still more likely to experience delayed care due to cost and difficulty making a timely appointment, even after adjusting for frequency of health service use, insurance coverage, and demographic characteristics.