The authors examined the association of demographic and clinical characteristics, family history, and type of treatment among children receiving outpatient mental health services and parents' perception of treatment benefit. They also examined whether perceived benefit was related to continued use of services at six-month follow-up.
Parents of children age six to 12 years who were first-time patients at one of nine clinics participating in the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study completed the Parent General Behavior Inventory Ten-Item Mania Scale. Parents of children with scores of 12 or higher (N=1,124) were invited to participate in a follow-up study, and 621 agreed. During baseline assessment after the first outpatient visit and at six-month follow-up, the parents were asked about children's sociodemographic and diagnostic characteristics and use of services and asked to rate how much their children had benefited from the most recent outpatient treatment.
Data were available for 573 children. At baseline, parents of 167 (29%) children reported that the treatment provided a lot of benefit, and perceived benefit was related to receiving medication (with or without therapy) versus just therapy, higher scores on functioning, LAMS site, no history of comorbid diagnoses, living with both biological parents, and having no parents or siblings with a prior hospitalization for a psychiatric illness. At six-month follow-up, perceived benefit was related to continued use of services (p<.001).
Medication with or without therapy was perceived as more beneficial than therapy alone. Perceived benefit was strongly related to continued use of treatment. (Psychiatric Services 63:793–801, 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100460a)