Mental, emotional and behavioral disorders can be prevented in young people

July 29, 2009

Tampa, FL--July 29, 2009--Around one in five young people in the U.S. have a current mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. About half of all adults with mental disorders recalled that their disorders began by their mid-teens and three-quarters by their mid-20s. Early onset of mental health problems have been associated with poor outcomes such as failure to complete high school, increased risk for psychiatric and substance problems, and teen pregnancy.

A new article by Mary E. Evans, RN, PhD, FAAN, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing assesses the recently released government report on preventing these disorders among young people. Dr. Evans' paper concludes that using certain interventional programs in schools, communities and health care settings, risk for mental illness can be better identified and treated.

The article highlights the fact that specific risk and protective factors have been identified for many disorders. For example, certain thinking and behavioral patterns are risks for the development of depression. Nonspecific factors that increase risk for developing disorders also include poverty, marital conflict, poor peer relations, and community violence. Also, certain neurobiological factors contribute to the development of disorders in youth, but this is also influenced by environmental factors.

A key risk factor for externalizing disorders is aggressive social behavior that begins in early childhood. A number of interventions have been developed to provide training in parenting skills to prevent the development of aggressive and antisocial behavior. In addition, some preventive interventions have targeted specific disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Cognitive behavioral treatment for high-risk adolescents has lowered the rate of major depressive symptoms. Also, a number of community-based programs have been shown to be effective in promoting healthy behaviors.

"For all nurses, this report will increase our understanding of risk and protective factors related to the healthy development of children and youth," Evans concludes. "These include individual and family factors that we
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This study is published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact professionalnews@wiley.com.

Mary E. Evans, RN, PhD, FAAN, is affiliated with the College of Nursing, University of South Florida & Institute of Medicine, and can be reached for questions at mevans@health.usf.edu.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing (JCAPN) is the only nursing journal to focus exclusively on issues of child and adolescent mental health around the world. As a primary resource for nurses and other healthcare professionals in clinical practice, educator roles, and those conducting research in mental health and psychiatric care, the journal includes peer-reviewed, original articles from a wide range of contributors in a broad variety of settings. The breadth of topics covered in JCAPN includes psychosocial issues, psychopharmacology, the impact of interventions on cognitive, social, or emotional growth and development, environmental factors that facilitate or constrain mental health, social policy factors that influence the delivery of healthcare services, care of emotionally disturbed children in schools, inpatient and outpatient settings, care within the juvenile justice system, and psychiatric nursing education and research. Columns highlight conferences held around the world, book reviews of popular literature useful to clinicians, and case studies. Special theme topics are published periodically as an outcome of conferences and needs of the readers. The journal is edited by Elizabeth C. Poster RN PhD FAAN who is Dean of the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, and medical scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wiley-blackwell.com or www.interscience.wiley.com.

Wiley

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