Do parents expect pediatricians to pay attention to behavioral health?

Justine Julia Larson, Sean Lynch, Leslie Bishop Tarver, Laura Mitchell, Emily Frosch, Barry Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective. This study is a qualitative analysis examining caregivers' expectations for pediatricians with regard to behavioral health care. Methods. Fifty-five parents/caregivers of children seen in an urban primary care clinic participated in semistructured interviews. Participants were parents or guardians of children between the ages of 2 and 17 years, referred from the pediatric clinic to the mental health center. Interviews were analyzed using grounded theory methods. Results. Pertinent themes were the following: expected range of care, components of an effective primary care provider (PCP) relationship, action of the PCP, and parent reaction to PCP intervention. Forty-seven percent of caregivers saw the PCP role as strictly for physical health care; 53% expected the PCP to have a role in both physical and behavioral health. Responses were overwhelmingly positive from caregivers when the PCP asked about or conducted a behavioral health intervention. Conclusion. Caregivers did not consistently expect but responded positively to PCPs engaging around behavioral health concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-893
Number of pages6
JournalClinical pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Behavioral medicine
  • Community mental health services
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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