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Psychopathology Seen in Kids with Intellectual Disability

Over 40 percent have psychopathology, psychiatric disorder, but few get mental health care

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- About 41 percent of children and adolescents with intellectual disability also have major psychopathology, and while this decreases over time, only one in 10 receives mental health treatment, according to a study in the Oct. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Stewart L. Einfeld, M.D., of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues examined psychopathology in 578 children and adolescents with intellectual disability over 14 years, with data collected at four time waves. The researchers obtained data from 507 participants, with 84 percent of these followed up through the fourth time wave in 2002-2003.

Forty-one percent of subjects had major psychopathology or definite psychiatric disorder at baseline, which decreased to 31 percent by the end of the study. Psychopathology decreased more in boys than girls over time, and more in subjects with mild intellectual ability than in those with more severe intellectual impairment. Only 10 percent of participants with psychopathology received mental health treatment, the report indicates.

"These results provide evidence that the problem of psychopathology co-morbid with intellectual disability is both substantial and persistent and suggest the need for effective mental health interventions," Einfeld and colleagues conclude.

Einfeld and another colleague hold the copyright for the Developmental Behaviour Checklist, a measuring tool used in the research.

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