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Children of the GAZEL Cohort: I--Prevalence of contacts with the medico-educational system for psychological reasons, and associated factors


, : Children of the GAZEL Cohort: I--Prevalence of contacts with the medico-educational system for psychological reasons, and associated factors. Revue D'epidemiologie et de Sante Publique 45(1): 29-40

An epidemiological survey of French children aged 4 to 16 was conducted in order to estimate the 12-months rates of service utilization for psychological reasons and to assess the factors associated with service use in this community sample. A large sample of 2582 children and adolescents was recruited from the families whose one parent was employed by the national electricity and gaz company (EDF-GDF). Of these employees, 20,000 have volunteered for a long-term prospective cohort study of their health and, since 1989, they have participated to annual surveys and additional ad hoc research programmes. Families with a child aged 4 to 16 in 1991 were selected. Only one child was selected in each family, and the sample was stratified by socio-economic status and family size according to census data. A survey questionnaire comprising a valid measure of child psychopathology (Child Behavior Checklist: CBCL) and an additional questionnaire including questions related to service use was used as a means of data collection. The response rate was 62.2% and factors associated with participation in the survey were analysed. The 12-months prevalence rate of contact for psychological motives were: 42.3% for general practitioners and family doctors, 7.8% for speech and language therapists, 9.5% for educational specialists, and 6.0% for mental health professionals. With the exception of general practitioners, rates of service contact were significantly higher for boys. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify separately factors associated with recent contact for each category of professionals. Results showed that, for all professionals, high scores on the CBCL measure was significantly associated with service use, the strongest association being found for mental health professionals. Family structure was also predictive of the latter, with higher rates of contacts for those children living in families whose parents are divorced, separated or widowed. Some differences for contacts with doctors were found according to the region; otherwise, no effects of socio-economic status, educational level of the parent, or other socio-economic indicators were found to predict service utilization. The implications for services are discussed.

US$29.90

PMID: 9173456


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