The pediatrician as gatekeeper to mental health care for children: do parents' concerns open the gate?

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1990 May;29(3):453-8. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199005000-00018.


Data from a study of children seen for pediatric care in a Health Maintenance Organization are used to examine factors which influence the likelihood that a pediatrician will identify a psychiatric problem and refer an identified child to a mental health specialist for further evaluation and treatment. Parental level of distress, family psychiatric history, and discussion of parental concerns with the pediatrician were found to be important. Characteristics of the service delivery system which may impede appropriate identification and referral are discussed. Implications for participation of child and adolescent psychiatrists in the training of pediatricians are presented.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Personality Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Referral and Consultation*