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Provider Recognition of Psychosocial Problems in Low-Income Latino Children

The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of identification of psychosocial problems in Latino children by primary care providers (PCPs). This was a cross-sectional study of 269 low-socioeconomic status (SES), Latino children, ages 2–16 years, seen at a community clinic for well-child care. Primary care providers completed a World Health Organization checklist, which organized provider assessment of child psychosocial problems. Clinicians identified one or more psychosocial problems in 39.8% of children. Clinicians recognized only 20% of children with clinically significant aggression symptoms, 18% of children with clinically significant attention/hyperactivity symptoms, and none (0%) of the children with clinically significant anxiety/depression symptoms with clinical data from parent-completed child-behavior checklists used as the benchmark. Despite high rates of identification of psychosocial problems in a low-SES, Latino population, PCPs still miss symptoms of mental health difficulties, especially anxiety and depression. Since symptoms of anxiety and depression are likely to be more pronounced in Latino populations, there is a continued need for improvement in detection of mental health concerns among these children.

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