Prevalence of Mental Disorder in Military Children and Adolescents: Findings from a Two-Stage Community Survey

PETER S. JENSEN, HENRY K. WATANABE, JOHN E. RICHTERS, ROSA CORTES, MARGARET ROPER, SHARON LIU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because previous reports have suggested that children of military families are at greater risk for psychopathology, this study examines the levels of psychopathology in an epidemiological community sample of military children all living on a military post. Standardized psychopathology rating scales and a structured diagnostic interview (the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children [DISC], version 2.1) were used in a multimethod, multistage survey; 294 six- to seventeen-year-old military children and their parents participated in the study. Parent- and child-administered structured DSM-III-R DISC interviews indicated that children's levels of psychopathology were at levels consistent with studies of other normal samples. In addition, parents' and children's symptom checklist ratings of children were at national norms, as were parents' ratings of their own symptoms. Overall results do not support the notion that levels of psychopathology are greatly increased in military children. Further studies of military families should address the effects of rank and socioeconomic status, housing, and the current impact of life stressors on the parents as well as the children, in order to avoid drawing erroneous conclusions about parts or all of the military community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1514-1524
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume34
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

Keywords

  • Child Behavior Checklist
  • Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children
  • mental disorder
  • military children
  • military families
  • prevalence
  • psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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