Family psychosocial screening: should we focus on high-risk settings?

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1994 Oct;15(5):336-41.


The objective of this study was to address the question of whether or not psychosocial screening should be focused on "high-risk" populations. A cross-sectional survey of mothers of young children was conducted in various clinics: 758 in teaching clinics, 444 in private practices, and 202 at a military clinic. The self-administered questionnaire covered demographic factors, problems in mothers family of origin, maternal depression, and substance abuse. Mothers in the teaching clinics were younger and had less education and lower incomes than mothers in private practices, with intermediate levels in the military clinic. However, a substantial proportion of mothers seen in all sites reported psychosocial problems. Approximately 20% of mothers in all sites reported a family history of alcoholism. Positive screens for maternal depression ranged from about 15% to 35%. Binge drinking was reported by 10% to 20% at different sites. Psychosocial problems were common even among families seen in "low-risk" settings. Focusing screening only on high-risk clinics would miss many families with psychosocial problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Health Services
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Military Personnel / psychology
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors