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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 58 (2016) 2, 95 - 104

New research

Psychopathology in families: an integral approach via the family outpatient clinic

S.C. van Veen, N.M. Batelaan, L.W. Wesseldijk, J. Rozeboom, C.M. Middeldorp

background Psychiatric disorders run in families. To bridge the gap between child and youth psychiatry and adult psychiatry, ggz inGeest has started screening parents of new registered children for psychopathology - and if indicated – offers parents treatment in the same department as their children.
aim To examine the feasibility and usefulness of this procedure, to investigate how many parents agree to screening, further diagnostics and treatment, and to find out how many parents have in fact suffered from recent psychiatric problems.
method Prior to the children’s first appointment, the parents were asked to complete a questionnaire, the Adult Self Report (asr), about their own problems. If these scores were (sub)clinical, parents were invited to participate in a telephonic interview. This consisted of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (cidi) and Conners’ Adult adhd Rating Scales (caars). If the results indicate psychopathology, further psychiatric assessment and, if necessary, treatment is offered.
results The first response was 55.7% and, if indicated, most of the parents agreed on further diagnostics. On the asr 2 out of 5 mothers (42.1%) and 1 out of 5 fathers (21.8%) reported problems that could point to a psychiatric disorder. According to the asr, within this high-risk group 37% of the mothers met the criteria for an axis I diagnosis (less than one month earlier) compared to 70.6% of the fathers. A mood disorder was the primary diagnosis for women, whereas men most often suffered from an anxiety disorder. In total, 19.1% of the parents screened were suffering from recent psychopathology and 75% of this group agreed to receive mental health care (treatment at the family outpatient clinic or referred to another clinic).
conclusion Implementation of the family outpatient clinic scheme is feasible. However, further efforts are needed in order to reach a larger group of parents, particularly fathers. The family outpatient clinic is useful because parents who suffer from psychopathology do not always receive mental health care. However, a randomised control trial is needed to determine whether parallel treatment of parents and children can improve the treatment outcome for children.

keywords adults, children, family outpatient clinic, psychopathology, screening