A Pan-Canadian Study of Physical-Mental Comorbidity in Children

As many as 30% of children under 18 years of age have co-occurring physical and mental illness (e.g., diabetes and depression). Multimorbidity has tremendous public health implications. These children report compromised quality of life that extends throughout the life-course, have parents and families that experience elevated stress, and use considerably more health services resulting in increased health system costs for society.

The present study uses data collected from the 2019 Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth (CHSCY), sampling 92,170 children aged <18 years and their primary-caregiving parent with the purpose of:

  • estimating the proportion of children with physical-mental comorbidity
  • identifying predictors and outcomes of child physical-mental comorbidity
  • investigating how child physical-mental comorbidity impacts the use of mental health services

Ultimately, this research will support the health and well-being of children with physical illness, with the aim of improving integrated care.

This study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.