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The child psychopharmacology experiences survey


  • Early Childhood (3-5 years)
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Adolescence (12-18 years)


Over the last decade, the number of prescriptions for child psychiatric medications have tripled in the U.S. Rates of child psychiatric medication utilization now approach 10% of all adolescents, and as high as 30% of all children and youth in certain high risk populations (e.g., children in foster care). This increasingly widespread use significantly exceeds what is supported by the available research evidence base, and does not reflect the fact that only 1 in 3 of these prescriptions has FDA approval (i.e., an on-label indication). Lacking research evidence about the child-specific effects of psychiatric medications has been shown to place children at risk of harm; recent discoveries of children experiencing suicidal thoughts from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and diabetes complications from atypical antipsychotics are just two examples of these latent risks. To address these problems and gaps in the literature, a national, prospective survey (web-based and print) of the psychopharmacological experiences of approximately 2,500 children 3 - 17 years of age will be conducted. Study participants (parents) will be identified through a large, national retail pharmacy chain where they fill their child's prescriptions, and will be surveyed at three points in time (baseline, six months and one year). Parents will answer questions about demographics, symptoms, treatment plans, adherence, side effects and outcomes with both standardized measures (i.e. CBCL, CMRS, SMURF) and unique queries. Results will improve practice by informing practitioners about the outcomes resulting from real-world treatment scenarios, by identifying the long term children's psychiatric medication side effects from mono and polypharmacy regimens, by identifying the potential predictors of both treatment adherence and outcomes, and by informing and helping to prioritize future head-to-head clinical trials. The study is designed to address MCHB Strategic Issues #1 (systems and infrastructures that support the health of the study population) #2 (eliminating health disparities and barriers to health care access), #3 (services and systems that assure quality of care) and #4 (promotion of healthy development of children with mental health disorders).


Listed is descending order by year published.

Hilt RJ, Chaudhari M, Bell JF, Wolf C. Side effects from use of one or more psychiatric medications in a population-based sample of children and adolescents. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2014 Mar;24(2):83-89.

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