Training pediatric residents in a primary care clinic to help address psychosocial problems and prevent child maltreatment

Acad Pediatr. 2011 Nov-Dec;11(6):474-80. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Sep 29.


Objective: The objectives of this study were to determine whether 1) residents trained in the SEEK (A Safe Environment for Every Kid) model would report improved attitudes, knowledge, comfort, competence, and practice regarding screening for psychosocial risk factors (parental depression, parental substance abuse, intimate partner violence, stress, corporal punishment, and food insecurity); 2) intervention residents would be more likely to screen for and assess those risk factors; and 3) families seen by intervention residents would report improved satisfaction with their child's doctor compared to families receiving standard care from control residents.

Methods: Pediatric residents in a university-based pediatrics continuity clinic were enrolled onto a randomized controlled trial of the SEEK model. The model included resident training about psychosocial risk factors, a Parent Screening Questionnaire, and a study social worker. Outcome measures included: 1) residents' baseline, 6-month, and 18-month posttraining surveys, 2) medical record review, and 3) parents' satisfaction regarding doctor-parent interaction.

Results: Ninety-five residents participated. In 4 of 6 risk areas, intervention residents scored higher on the self-assessment compared to control subjects, with sustained improvement at 18 months. Intervention residents were more likely than control subjects to screen and assess parents for targeted risk factors. Parents seen by intervention residents responded favorably regarding interactions with their doctor.

Conclusions: The SEEK model helped residents become more comfortable and competent in screening for and addressing psychosocial risk factors. The benefits were sustained. Parents viewed the intervention doctors favorably. The model shows promise as a way of helping address major psychosocial problems in pediatric primary care.

Trial registration: NCT00507299.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data