Researchers reviewed information supplied by parents in the National Survey of Children's Health for the years 2011-2012 and to analyze the data for reported language and speech problems, learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, and other psychological troubles — and what they found was surprising.
It appeared that one in seven US children from 2- to 8-years-old were struggling with a behavioral, mental, or developmental issue, or what is commonly known as psychological disorders, reports Steven Reinberg for CBS News.
Jennifer Kaminski, lead researcher and team leader for child development studies at the CDC, said:
"Based on the number of kids affected, this is something we need to pay attention to."
What was also discovered, however, was that children who had these mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders were less likely to have access to medical care, especially care that was family-centered, on-going, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and effective culturally.
Problems with child-care and parents with mental health issues were often linked to mental, developmental, and behavioral disorders in young boys and girls. The presence of these maladies was varied among the states, meaning there are certain things states can do to improve kids' health.
Kaminski pointed out that the number of children with these problems was lowest in California at only 10.6%. Arkansas and Kentucky had rates almost double that amount according to the analysis.
Support from the neighborhood in which children live is an essential factor as well. This kind of assistance was found more often in North Dakota and was available the least in Arizona.
Kaminski cautioned that this research was simply a snapshot and could not determine if more kids were suffering from these psychological disorders than those in years past.
Other problems included in the full range of childhood psychological issues include depression, intellectual disabilities, developmental delay, and Tourette syndrome.
Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Dr. Andrew Adesman of Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York explained that this was not the first, nor would it be the last, report to show that health care, family, and community factors are inextricably linked to a variety of childhood psychological issues.
The study was based on data from over 35,000 children and was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on March 11.
The Huffington Post's Lindsay Holmes writes that Washington, D.C. had the highest rate of parental mental health disorders. Kansas had the lowest. She adds that kids who are exposed to anxiety-ridden environments at a young age could have serious repercussions in their adult life, such as physical and mental health issues.
Some studies have found that high levels of stress even while a child is in the womb could have dangerous and long-lasting effects on the infant.
Kids who live in homes where English is not spoken are most likely to suffer from these conditions, according to Denise Uychiat, writing for the Parent Herald. Kaminski said:
"Speaking English is either an indicator of assimilation into the culture and/or a sign of better access to health care. We are not able to say if these risk factors are caused by or causing the disorders, but they are important for children's health."