Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101-107

Incidence of childhood psychiatric disorders in India

Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012, India

Correspondence Address:
Savita Malhotra
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.49449

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Background: Studies on incidence of childhood mental disorders are extremely rare globally and there are none from India. Incidence studies though more difficult and time consuming, provide invaluable information on the pattern and causes of occurrence of mental disorders allowing opportunity for early intervention and primary prevention. Aim: This study aimed at estimating the incidence of psychiatric disorders in school children. Materials and Methods: A representative sample of school children was assessed through a two stage evaluation process involving teacher's rating (N=963) and parent rating (N=873). Children who scored below the cut-off for psychiatric disorder (N=727) on both the screening instruments were re-contacted six years later. 186 children and their families were personally available for reevaluation. All the children and their parents were re-assessed on Parent Interview Schedule; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: and detailed clinical assessment by a psychiatrist. Psychiatric diagnosis was made as per ICD 10 criteria. Data on children who were found to have psychiatric disorder were compared with those who did not have psychiatric disorders. Results: 20 children out of 186 followed up had psychiatric disorder giving the annual incidence rate of 18/1000/yr. Children who had disorder at follow-up did not differ from those who did not on age, gender and psychological (temperament, parental handling, life stress and IQ) parameters at baseline. Discussion: Incidence figures cannot be compared due to lack of any comparable studies. Factors associated with occurrence of new cases of psychiatric disorder and implications for future studies are discussed.



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