Pediatricians' treatment decisions for children with mental health disorders


Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Psychology


Citation of Original Publication


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Pediatricians are being called upon to take a more active role in the treatment of mental health problems among their patients. The aims of this study were to examine pediatricians' treatment decisions for patients presenting with symptoms of attentiondeficit hyperactivity disorder or depression and examine the effect of parental pressure to prescribe medication. Exploratory analyses were conducted to examine if pediatricians' attachment styles impacted their treatment decisions. An online survey was completed by 97 pediatricians in Maryland. Pediatricians reported being more likely to treat ADHD on their own than depression and were more likely to prescribe medication for ADHD than depression. Parental pressure to prescribe medication was not a significant predictor for managing the case on their own, prescribing medication, or managing the case in conjunction with a referral to a mental health provider. Exploratory analyses testing the effect of pediatricians' attachment were non-significant for all three variables of interest.