Pediatrician-psychiatrist collaboration to care for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and anxiety

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Jan;50(1):37-43. doi: 10.1177/0009922810379499. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


Objective: To describe pediatrician experiences collaborating with psychiatrists when caring for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety.

Method: A random sample of Massachusetts primary care pediatricians completed a mailed self-report survey.

Results: Response rate was 50% (100/198). Most pediatricians preferred psychiatrists to initiate medications for anxiety (87%) or depression (85%), but not ADHD (22%). Only 14% of respondents usually received information about a psychiatry consultation. For most (88%), the family was the primary conduit of information from psychiatrists, although few (14%) believed the family to be a dependable informant. Despite this lack of direct communication, most pediatricians reported refilling psychiatry-initiated prescriptions for ADHD (88%), depression (76%), and anxiety (72%).

Conclusions: Pediatricians preferred closer collaboration with psychiatrists for managing children with anxiety and depression, but not ADHD. The communication gap between psychiatrists and pediatricians raises concerns about quality of care for children with psychiatric conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Pediatrics*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce