Pediatrician identification of child behavior problems: the roles of parenting factors and cross-practice differences.

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Journal of clinical psychology in medical settings, ISSN: 1573-3572, Vol: 19, Issue: 2, Page: 177-87

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Dempster, Robert M.; Wildman, Beth G.; Langkamp, Diane; Duby, John C.
Springer Nature
Psychology; Primary care; Identification of child behavioral problems; Parenting; Primary care; Identification of child behavioral problems; Parenting; Medical Specialties; Medicine and Health Sciences; Pediatrics
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While most primary care pediatricians acknowledge the importance of identifying child behavior problems, fewer than 2% of children with a diagnosable psychological disorder are referred for mental health care in any given year. The present study examined the potential role of parental characteristics (parental affect, parenting style, and parenting self-efficacy) in pediatrician identification of child behavior problems, and determined whether these relationships differed across practices. Parents of 831 children between 2 and 16 years completed questionnaires regarding demographic information, their child's behavior, their affect, their parenting style, and their parenting self-efficacy. Pediatricians completed a brief questionnaire following visits in four community-based primary care practices in the Midwest. Logistic regressions controlling for child behavior and demographic predictors of pediatrician identification found that an authoritarian parenting style, in which parents yell or strongly negatively react to problem behavior, was negatively associated with likelihood of identification in the overall sample. However, the variables that were predictive of pediatrician identification differed depending on the specific practice. Parental characteristics can aid in understanding which children are likely to be identified by their pediatrician as having behavioral problems. The finding that practices differed on which variables were associated with pediatrician identification suggests the need to potentially individualize interventions to certain physicians and practices to improve identification of child behavior problems in primary care.