Identification of youth psychosocial problems during pediatric primary care visits

Adm Policy Ment Health. 2007 May;34(3):269-81. doi: 10.1007/s10488-006-0106-7. Epub 2007 Jan 17.


This investigation applied the Gateway Provider Model (GPM) of child mental health services to investigate whether characteristics of the child, family, visit, and provider were related to the identification of youth psychosocial problems during primary care visits. Data were gathered during 774 visits to 54 primary care providers (PCPs) at 13 clinics. Similar to previous investigations in primary care settings, 42% of youth demonstrated at least a sub-threshold clinical mental health problem. Most PCPs reported high job satisfaction and control, but reported varying access to mental health specialists. PCPs generally had positive attitudes and beliefs about treating psychosocial problems but many reported that doing so was burdensome. Identification was more likely when the visit was for a mental health problem, when issues related to psychosocial problems were discussed during the visit, when the youth demonstrated mental health symptoms, impairment, or burden to the family, and when the youth was older, uninsured, or received Medicaid. Identification was less likely when the PCP reported greater burden associated with treating psychosocial problems and when the PCP reported greater accessibility to mental health specialists. These results suggest that identification is associated with the interaction of multilevel factors and that the GPM is a useful model to investigate points of intervention for improving the identification of children's mental health problems in primary care settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Pediatrics*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology