Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility and clinical benefits of an integrated mental health intervention (doctor-office collaborative care [DOCC]) vs enhanced usual care (EUC) for children with behavioral problems.
Design: Cases were assigned to DOCC and EUC using a 2:1 randomization schedule that resulted in 55 DOCC and 23 EUC cases.
Setting: Preassessment was conducted in 4 pediatric primary care practices. Postassessment was conducted in the pediatric or research office. Doctor-office collaborative care was provided in the practice; EUC was initiated in the office but involved a facilitated referral to a local mental health specialist.
Participants: Of 125 referrals (age range, 5-12 years), 78 children participated.
Interventions: Children and their parents were assigned to receive DOCC or EUC.
Main outcome measures: Preassessment diagnostic status was evaluated using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-aged Children. Preassessment and 6-month postassessment ratings of behavioral and emotional problems were collected from parents using the Vanderbilt Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale, as well as individualized goal achievement ratings forms. At discharge, care managers and a diagnostic evaluator completed the Clinical Global Impression Scale, and pediatricians and parents completed satisfaction and study feedback measures.
Results: Group comparisons found significant improvements for DOCC over EUC in service use and completion, behavioral and emotional problems, individualized behavioral goals, and overall clinical response. Pediatricians and parents were highly satisfied with DOCC.
Conclusion: The feasibility and clinical benefits of DOCC for behavioral problems support the integration of collaborative mental health services for common mental disorders in primary care.