Comorbidity of Mental Health Problems and Chronic Health Conditions in Children
Both mental and physical health problems have significant, costly effects on children and on society, particularly through the health-care delivery system. Many years of research show more mental health problems among children with chronic health conditions, but the research is contradictory and inconclusive. This study is the first to examine the physical health status and problems of children with known mental health problems.The study compares Medicaid children with and without serious mental health problems (n = 965) using parent reports of global health status, physical functioning, and general health perceptions. Children with more serious mental health problems were significantly more likely to have chronic health conditions.The number of chronic health conditions was the most powerful variable in predicting children's global health status, physical functioning, and general health perceptions. Children's mental health status, however, was a significant predictor as well, and the inclusion of this variable in the analyses significantly improved the fit of the regression model. Implications for the health-care delivery system are discussed.
Terri Combs-Orme, Craig Anne Heflinger, and Celeste G. Simpkins. "Comorbidity of Mental Health Problems and Chronic Health Conditions in Children" Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 10.2 (2002): 116-125.