One or more psychiatric disorders Prevalence

A recent article reviewed 52 separate studies with data on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents in community populations. (25) The mean prevalence was 15.8 per cent. In an earlier review of five community samples in the 1980s using DSM-III criteria,(26) the prevalence rates varied between 17.6 and 22

per cent.(2Z) In the more recent review, the prevalence rates varied widely from approximately 1 per cent to almost 51 per cent. Sources of variation include sampling strategy, the number and types of disorders included, case definition, and case ascertainment. Despite the wide variation in prevalence rates, at least 12 per cent of children and adolescents are estimated to have clinically important mental disorders, and at least half of them are judged to be severely disordered or handicapped by their mental illness. (18,)

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