The ARCH Lab recently published a paper titled “Prevalence and Correlates of Physical-mental Multimorbidity in Outpatient Children from a Pediatric Hospital in Canada”.
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. Data come from the MY LIFE Study.
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 physical illness classifications. Parent-child agreement on the MINI-KID (measure of mental illness) was low. Factors associated with multimorbidity were: child age, being male, ≥$90,000 household income, parental symptoms of depression, and child disability.
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.