Prevalence rates and correlates of psychiatric disorders among preschool children

John V. Lavigne*, Robert D. Gibbons, Katherine Kaufer Christoffel, Richard Arend, Diane Rosenbaum, Helen Binns, Nichole Dawson, Hollie Sobel, Crystal Isaacs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

430 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence and correlates of psychiatric disorders among preschool children in a primary care pediatric sample. Method: In a two-stage design, 3,860 preschool children were screened; 510 received fuller evaluations. Results: For quantitative assessment of disorder (≥90th percentile), prevalence of behavior problems was 83%. 'Probable' occurrence of an Axis I DSM-III-R disorder was 21.4% (9.1%, severe). Logistic regression analyses indicated significant demographic correlates for quantitative outcomes (older age, minority status, male sex, low socioeconomic status, father absence, small family size) but not for DSM- III-R diagnoses. Maternal and family characteristics were generally not significant. Child correlates included activity level, timidity, persistence, and IQ. Conclusions: Overall prevalence of disorder was consistent with rates for older children; correlates varied by approach used for classification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-214
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996


  • epidemiology
  • preschool children
  • psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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