Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Key Findings: Health-care, Family, and Community Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood - United States, 2011-2012

Diverse grouping of children

CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published a study looking at family, community and health-care factors related to mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders among children aged 2 to 8 years. To conduct this study, CDC researchers used parent-reported information from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health. Researchers found that 1 out of 7 U.S. children aged 2 to 8 years were reported to have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder (MBDD). Many family, community, and health-care factors were related to the children having MBDDs. These findings highlight specific factors that national, state, and local policies and programs could address through collaborative efforts. Efforts to prevent the onset of MBDDs, and improve outcomes of children with these disorders, may benefit from including activities that target these factors. Read the article, Health-care, Family and Community Factors associated with Mental, Behavioral and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood – United States, 2011-2012.

Main Findings

The chart below shows the proportion (percentage) of parent-reported characteristics of U.S. children aged 2 to 8 years who had a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder (MBDD).

  • It shows that the children with the following characteristics were more likely to have a MBDD:
    • Boys
    • Children age 6 to 8 years
    • Non-Hispanic white children
  • The chart also shows that children were more likely to have a MBDD if they were from
    • poor families (those living at less than 100% of the federal poverty level) and
    • families that spoke English in the home
[Graph] Characteristics related to mental, behavioral and developmental disorders among US children aged 2 to 8 years - Sex: Boys 20%, girls 11% | Age: 2-3 9%, 4-5 15%, 6-8 20% | Race/Ethnicity: Non-hispanic white 17%, non-hispanic Black 15%, | Hispanic 14%, Other 14% | Federal poverty level: Less than 100% 19%, 100-199% 16%, 200-399% 14%, 400% or higher 13% | Household language: English 16% Other 11%

The chart below shows that children with MBDDs were more likely to

  • Have a parent who reported
    • Fair or poor mental health,
    • Trouble getting by on the family’s income, or
    • To have quit or changed a job because of problems related to child care.
  • Live in a neighborhood that
    • Lacked support (neighbors don’t help each other out or watch out for each other),
    • Didn’t have amenities (such as sidewalks or libraries), or
    • Was in poor condition
  • Have poor insurance or no medical home

Large differences in the percentage of family, community and health-care factors were seen between different states.

[Graph] Family, community and health-care factors related to mental, behavioral and developmental disorders among US children aged 2 to 8 years - Comparing children with any MBDD vs. those without on family factors: Parent with low mental health: 20% vs. 10% | Income difficulty: 36% vs. 24% | Child care problems: 20% vs. 13% - Comparing children with any MBDD vs. those without on neighborhood factors: Lacks amenities: 46% vs. 42% | Poor condition: 35% vs. 28% | Lacks support: 24% vs. 19% - Comparing children with any MBDD vs. those without on health factors: Inadequate insurance: 26% vs. 20% | Lacks a medical home: 57% vs. 42%

About this Study

Learn more about mental, behavioral, or developmental conditions.

Children’s Mental Health Conditions

  • Data for the study came from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). The NSCH is a telephone-based survey that relies on parent-report of child health and well-being, family characteristics and neighborhood environment. The study focused on children aged 2 to 8 years.
  • Parents were asked whether a health-care provider ever told them their child had certain conditions. Conditions (mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders) included in this study were: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety problems, behavioral or conduct problems such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, learning disability, intellectual disability, developmental delay, and speech or other language problems.
  • Family, neighborhood and health factors are described in detail in the report.

CDC’s Activities: Early Childhood

CDC works to promote early childhood health and prevent mental, behavioral and developmental disorders.

  • CDC’s Legacy for Children,TM is a group-based parenting program developed to support low-income families. It focuses on positive parenting, sharing knowledge about child development, supporting mothers to decide what is best for themselves and their children, and building a sense of community.
  • CDC’s Essentials for Childhood encourages safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for all children to prevent child abuse and neglect and to ensure children reach their full potential.
  • CDC’s Child Preparedness activities focus on preparing for disasters with children in mind, and providing resources and support to protect children during disasters.

CDC works to promote early identification of children with developmental disabilities and referral to appropriate services.

  • CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program aims to improve early identification of all children at risk for or with developmental disabilities, so children and families can get support as early as possible. “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” promotes developmental monitoring and screening, and offers free materials and resources.
  • An online tool for parents, Physical Delays: What to Look For was developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics to improve earlier identification of delays in physical development.
  • CDC’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program supports states to help ensure that all infants are screened for hearing loss and those detected with hearing loss receive recommended follow-up services.

More Information

References

Bitsko, RH, Holbrook, JR, Kaminski, J, Robinson, LR, Ghandour, R, Smith, C, Peacock, G. Health-care, Family and Community Factors associated with Mental, Behavioral and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood – United States, 2011-2012. MMWR. 2016 Mar 11; 65(9);221-226

TOP