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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 247283, 8 pages
Research Article

Mental Health Services Use Predicted by Number of Mental Health Problems and Gender in a Total Population Study

1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway
2Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, Uni Health, Uni Research, P.O. Box 7810, 5020 Bergen, Norway
3Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
4K. G. Jebsen Center for Research on Neuropsychiatric Disorders, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Received 18 February 2013; Accepted 13 March 2013

Academic Editors: C. Gillberg and H. Minnis

Copyright © 2013 Maj-Britt Posserud and Astri J. Lundervold. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We examined the relationship between service use and the number of problem areas as reported by parents and teachers on questionnaires among children aged 7–9 years old in the Bergen Child Study, a total population study including more than 9000 children. A problem area was counted as present if the child scored above the 95th percentile on parent and/or teacher questionnaire. A total number of 13 problem areas were included. Odd ratios (ORs) for contact with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMH), school psychology services (SPS), health visiting nurse/physician, and school support were calculated with gender as covariate. The number of symptom areas was highly predictive of service use, showing a dose-response relationship for all services. Children scoring on ≥4 problem areas had a more than hundredfold risk of being in contact with CAMH services compared to children without problems. The mean number of problem areas for children in CAMH and SPS was 6.1 and 4.4 respectively, strongly supporting the ESSENCE model predicting multisymptomatology in children in specialized services. Even after controlling for number of problem areas, boys were twice as likely as girls to be in contact with CAMH, replicating previous findings of female gender being a strong barrier to mental health services.