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Psychiatric disorders in adolescents in primary care

  • Tami Kramer (a1) and M. Elena Garralda (a1)

Abstract

Background

Little is known about psychiatric disorders in adolescents who attend primary care.

Method

Prospective study of 13- to 16-year-olds consecutively attending general practice. Information was obtained from adolescents, parents and general practitioners, using questionnaires and research interviews.

Results

136/200 (68%) of adolescent attenders took part. Two per cent presented with psychiatric complaints. From research interviews with adolescents, psychiatric disorder in the previous year was found in 38%, with moderate impairment of functioning in over half (according to Children's Global Assessment Scale scores). Most disorders (42/50, 84%) were emotional (‘internalising’) disorders. Psychiatric disorders were significantly associated with high levels and intensity of physical symptoms and with increased health risks. General practitioner assessment of psychiatric disorders was low on sensitivity (20.8%) but high on specificity (90.7%). Doctors identified most severely affected adolescents.

Conclusions

Depressive and anxiety disorders are common among adolescent general practice attenders and linked to increased physical symptoms; general practitioner recognition is limited.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor M. E. Garralda, Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, St Mary's Campus. Academic Unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Psychiatric disorders in adolescents in primary care

  • Tami Kramer (a1) and M. Elena Garralda (a1)
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