Impact of pediatric mental health screening on clinical discussion and referral for services

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2014 Apr;53(4):364-71. doi: 10.1177/0009922813511146. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Objective: This study discusses the impact of mental health screening in pediatric primary care on the management of mental health concerns.

Methods: Youth aged 11 years and their parents completed the Pediatric Symptom Checklist and chart reviews were used to gather information about discussion of mental health concerns and connection with mental health services. The study design was a post-intervention study with a concurrent comparison group of youth aged 12 years who were not offered a screening. The χ(2) or Fisher's exact tests and logistic regression were used to compare groups on outcome variables.

Results: Parents who completed a mental health screening for their child were more likely to be referred and attend mental health services, attend a psychiatrist appointment, and discuss their concerns with the primary care provider compared with the comparison group.

Conclusions: Screening by parents improves detection of problems and fosters conversations with providers and subsequent connection with services.

Keywords: mental health; parent; primary care; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • New York
  • Parents
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*