Context: Community epidemiological data on the prevalence and correlates of adolescent mental disorders are needed for policy planning purposes. Only limited data of this sort are available.
Objective: To present estimates of 12-month and 30-day prevalence, persistence (12-month prevalence among lifetime cases and 30-day prevalence among 12-month cases), and sociodemographic correlates of commonly occurring DSM-IV disorders among adolescents in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement.
Design: The National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement is a US national survey of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavior, and substance disorders among US adolescents based on face-to-face interviews in the homes of respondents with supplemental parent questionnaires.
Setting: Dual-frame household and school samples of US adolescents.
Participants: A total of 10,148 adolescents aged 13 to 17 years (interviews) and 1 parent of each adolescent (questionnaires).
Main outcome measures: The DSM-IV disorders assessed with the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview and validated with blinded clinical interviews based on the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children. Good concordance (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve ≥0.80) was found between Composite International Diagnostic Interview and Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children diagnoses.
Results: The prevalence estimates of any DSM-IV disorder are 40.3% at 12 months (79.5% of lifetime cases) and 23.4% at 30 days (57.9% of 12-month cases). Anxiety disorders are the most common class of disorders, followed by behavior, mood, and substance disorders. Although relative disorder prevalence is quite stable over time, 30-day to 12-month prevalence ratios are higher for anxiety and behavior disorders than mood or substance disorders, suggesting that the former are more chronic than the latter. The 30-day to 12-month prevalence ratios are generally lower than the 12-month to lifetime ratios, suggesting that disorder persistence is due more to episode recurrence than to chronicity. Sociodemographic correlates are largely consistent with previous studies.
Conclusions: Among US adolescents, DSM-IV disorders are highly prevalent and persistent. Persistence is higher for adolescents than among adults and appears to be due more to recurrence than chronicity of child-adolescent onset disorders.