Mental Health Status
The survey asked parents of children aged 2-17 years whether their child had been diagnosed with, and still had, any of 16 specific conditions, 7 of which were related to emotions, behavior, or development. For each condition, the survey asked parents whether a doctor had told them that their child had the condition and whether the child still had the condition.
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children with these syndromes may have difficulty paying attention, be easily distracted and forgetful, have trouble listening and following directions, be impatient, and have trouble sitting still. Some of these children, those with ADD, only have difficulty with attention and organization. Others primarily have symptoms involving hyperactivity and impulsivity, and others have both. ADD/ADHD is the most common of the emotional, behavioral, and developmental conditions included in the survey: the parents of 6.4 percent of children reported that their children currently have this condition.
- Anxiety Problems. While all children may feel anxiety in specific situations, some children experience anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-tramatic stress disorder, and phobias. Symptoms may include constant worry, obsessions, fear of making mistakes, and lack of self-confidence. The parents of 2.9 percent of children reported that their children currently have these problems.
- Depression. Like adults, children may experience sadness at times. Children may also experience debilitating depression, although this condition may express itself differently in children than in adults. Symptoms of depression in children include persistent sadness or an anxious or empty mood, decreased interest in their favorite activities, inability to concentrate, frequent complaints of headaches and stomachaches, and increased irritability, anger, or hostility. The parents of 2.0 percent of children report that their children have been diagnosed with and currently have depression.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)/Conduct Disorder. Children with ODD show a pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior, especially toward adult authority figures. Children with ODD may have frequent tantrums, argue excessively with adults and question rules, and deliberately attempt to annoy or upset others. Children with conduct disorder also have difficulty following rules and behaving in socially acceptable ways. The parents of 3.3 percent of children report that their children currently have behavioral or conduct problems.
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) includes a range of diagnoses, including Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Children with autism have delays in language, communication, and social skills. Children with Asperger’s disorder have impaired social skills but do not have speech or language delays. They often have an intense interest in a single subject or topic. Children with pervasive developmental disorder have severe and persistent delays in language, communication, and social skills. The parents of 1.0 percent of children report that their children had ASDs at the time of the survey.
- Developmental Delay includes major delays in motor, language, social, or thinking skills. The parents of 3.2 percent of children reported that their child had a developmental delay at the time of the survey.
- Tourette Syndrome. Children may have body tics (quick, repeated involuntary movements) or vocal tics (involuntary speech or sounds), but those with Tourette Syndrome have both, and may also have difficulties with attention and learning or develop obsessions and compulsions. The parents of 0.1 percent of children report that their children currently have Tourette Syndrome at the time of the survey.
In total, 11.3 percent of children aged 2-17 years were reported to have at least one of these seven conditions at the time of the survey.