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HEALTH3.B Emotional and behavioral difficulties: Percentage of children ages 4–17 with serious or minor emotional or behavioral difficulties who received services by type of service, 2001–2014

excel icon HEALTH3B Excel Table
excel icon HEALTH3B Standard Error Excel Table

Type of servicea 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Serious difficulties
Current use of special education services for an emotional/behavioral problem 22.2 24.3 22.7 22.9 20.0 22.5 26.4 24.5 26.0 25.7 27.9 28.8 22.8 30.3
Parent contact with a general doctorb during the past 12 months about child's emotional/behavioral problem 37.8 39.3 39.2 35.4 34.3 38.0 40.3 36.0 34.1 35.5 39.7 36.4 42.9 43.6
Parent contact with a mental health professionalc during the past 12 months about the child 43.8 46.6 44.5 50.7 50.0 43.6 52.3 51.3 45.3 49.3 53.4 53.5 54.6 54.3
Minor difficulties
Current use of special education services for an emotional/behavioral problem 5.4 4.6 4.6 5.5 4.8 4.8 6.7 7.1 7.2 6.0 5.5 7.8 10.5 7.5
Parent contact with a general doctorb during the past 12 months about child's emotional/behavioral problem 11.1 12.6 10.0 12.4 10.7 9.2 11.8 11.8 13.6 11.0 12.4 15.0 17.3 16.3
Parent contact with a mental health professionalc during the past 12 months about the child 15.0 16.9 15.9 18.5 15.7 16.9 19.9 21.8 22.9 18.5 21.6 24.2 20.1 21.6
a A child who had more than one type of service or contact was included in more than one row.
b A general doctor was defined as a doctor who treats a variety of illnesses, such as a doctor in general practice, pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine. This percentage was calculated among all children ages 4–17 with emotional or behavioral difficulties. In previous reports this percentage was calculated among children ages 4–17 with emotional or behavioral difficulties whose parent had contact with a general doctor in the past 12 months for any reason. Therefore, estimates may differ from those in previous editions of America's Children.
c A mental health professional was defined as a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or clinical social worker.
NOTE: Emotional or behavioral difficulties of children were based on parental responses to the following question on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire:1 “Overall, do you think that (child) has any difficulties in one or more of the following areas: emotions, concentration, behavior, or being able to get along with other people?” Response choices were (1) no; (2) yes, minor difficulties; (3) yes, definite difficulties; and (4) yes, severe difficulties. Children with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties are defined as those whose parent responded “yes, definite” or “yes, severe.” These difficulties may be similar to but do not equate with the Federal definition of serious emotional disturbances, used by the Federal government for planning purposes. Children with minor emotional or behavioral difficulties are defined as those whose parent responded "yes, minor difficulties."
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey.
1 Goodman, R. (1999). The extended version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as a guide to child psychiatric caseness and consequent burden. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 791–799.