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Primary psychiatric prevention in children and adolescents

Mark Opler, PhD

New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

Dimple Sodhi, MD

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Deval Zaveri, MD

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Subramoniam Madhusoodanan, MD

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Brooklyn, NY, USASt. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Far Rockaway, NY, USA

BACKGROUND: Approximately 21% of US children age 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental illness with some degree of impairment. As early-onset mental illness may persist throughout the life span, effective primary mental health prevention programs are of paramount importance.

METHODS: We conducted a literature review of various preventive programs targeting childhood-onset psychopathology. We attempted to select those programs that present the strongest data on efficacy and those that are most commonly cited.

RESULTS: Modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors and different primary prevention strategies with positive outcomes have been identified for anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, disruptive behavior disorders, and suicide in children. The reported results for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and early-onset schizophrenia are neither uniform nor encouraging.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on our review, there is ample evidence to conclude that primary preventive intervention has the potential to be effective for some mental health disorders, promoting positive development, particularly in children of all ages in high-risk environments. Additional research is needed to further investigate the validity and reliability of various preventive strategies.

KEYWORDS: primary prevention, psychiatry, children, adolescents

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2010;22(4):220-234

CORRESPONDENCE: Subramoniam Madhusoodanan, MD, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, 327 Beach 19th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691 USA, E-MAIL: sdanan@ehs.org
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2010 Quadrant HealthCom Inc.

 
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