Prevalence and Treatment of Depression, Anxiety, and Conduct Problems in US Children
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Prevalence and Treatment of Depression, Anxiety, and Conduct Problems in US Children

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      J Pediatr
    • Description:

      To use the latest data to estimate the prevalence and correlates of currently diagnosed depression, anxiety problems, and behavioral or conduct problems among children, and the receipt of related mental health treatment.

      Study design

      We analyzed data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) to report nationally representative prevalence estimates of each condition among children aged 3–17 years and receipt of treatment by a mental health professional. Parents/caregivers reported whether their children had ever been diagnosed with each of the 3 conditions and whether they currently have the condition. Bivariate analyses were used to examine the prevalence of conditions and treatment according to sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. The independent associations of these characteristics with both the current disorder and utilization of treatment were assessed using multivariable logistic regression.


      Among children aged 3–17 years, 7.1% had current anxiety problems, 7.4% had a current behavioral/ conduct problem, and 3.2% had current depression. The prevalence of each disorder was higher with older age and poorer child health or parent/caregiver mental/emotional health; condition-specific variations were observed in the association between other characteristics and the likelihood of disorder. Nearly 80% of those with depression received treatment in the previous year, compared with 59.3% of those with anxiety problems and 53.5% of those with behavioral/conduct problems. Model-adjusted effects indicated that condition severity and presence of a comorbid mental disorder were associated with treatment receipt.


      The latest nationally representative data from the NSCH show that depression, anxiety, and behavioral/ conduct problems are prevalent among US children and adolescents. Treatment gaps remain, particularly for anxiety and behavioral/conduct problems.

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