Prevalence and Correlates of Physical-mental Multimorbidity in Outpatient Children From a Pediatric Hospital in Canada Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Objective The aim of this study was to estimate the six-month prevalence of mental illness in children with chronic physical illness (multimorbidity), examine agreement between parent and child reports of multimorbidity, and identify factors associated with child multimorbidity. Method The sample included 263 children aged 2–16 years with a physician-diagnosed chronic physical illness recruited from the outpatient clinics at a pediatric hospital. Children were categorized by physical illness according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD)-10. Parent and child-reported six-month mental illness was based on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents (MINI-KID). Results Overall, 101 (38%) of children had a parent-reported mental illness; 29 (25%) children self-reported mental illness. There were no differences in prevalence across ICD-10 classifications. Parent-child agreement on the MINI-KID was low (κ = 0.18), ranging from κ = 0.24 for specific phobia to κ = 0.03 for attention-deficit hyperactivity. From logistic regression modeling (odds ratio [OR] and 95% confidence interval), factors associated with multimorbidity were: child age (OR = 1.16 [1.04, 1.31]), male (OR = 3.76 [1.54, 9.22]), ≥$90,000 household income (OR = 2.57 [1.08, 6.22]), parental symptoms of depression (OR = 1.09 [1.03, 1.14]), and child disability (OR = 1.21 [1.13, 1.30]). Similar results were obtained when modeling number of mental illnesses. Conclusions Findings suggest that six-month multimorbidity is common and similar across different physical illnesses. Level of disability is a robust, potentially modifiable correlate of multimorbidity that can be assessed routinely by health professionals in the pediatric setting to initiate early mental health intervention to reduce the incidence of multimorbidity in children.

publication date

  • August 2022