Mental health of outpatient pediatric patients.


The purpose of this study is to estimate the percentage of mental health problems in a pediatric outpatient Norwegian clinic. We used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire to screen for mental health problems. Families of children aged 4-11 took part in the study, and 380 out of 982 possible families consented to take part, and 349 families contributed with questionnaire data. The main referral reasons for the patients were asthma, eneuresis and stomach pain. Mothers reported that 17.4% of boys and 17.8% of girls displayed mental clinical problems. The prevalence of problems did not differ significantly between somatic diagnostic groups. Although the study has low participation, it underlines the necessity of screening all pediatric patients for mental health problems. Future research in pediatric clinics should include factors of psychology because pediatric problems are not caused by somatics alone.