Annual research review: Optimal outcomes of child and adolescent mental illness

Published

Journal Article

© 2014 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Background: 'Optimal outcomes' of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders may mean the best possible outcome, or the best considering a child's history. Most research into the outcomes of child and adolescent psychiatric disorder concentrates on the likelihood of adult illness and disability given an earlier history of psychopathology. Methods: In this article, we review the research literature (based on a literature search using PubMed, RePORT and Google Advanced Scholar databases) on including optimal outcomes for young people with a history of anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or substance use disorders in childhood or adolescence. We consider three types of risks that these children may run later in development: future episodes of the same disorder, future episodes of a different disorder, and functional impairment. The impact of treatment or preventative interventions on early adult functioning is briefly reviewed. Results: We found that very few studies enabled us to answer our questions with certainty, but that in general about half of adults with a psychiatric history were disorder-free and functioning quite well in their 20s or 30s. However, their chance of functioning well was less than that of adults without a psychiatric history, even in the absence of a current disorder. Conclusions: Among adults who had a psychiatric disorder as a child or adolescent, about half can be expected to be disorder-free as young adults, and of these about half will be free of significant difficulties in the areas of work, health, relationships, and crime. Optimal outcomes are predicted by a mixture of personal characteristics and environmental supports.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Costello, EJ; Maughan, B

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 324 - 341

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7610

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9630

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jcpp.12371

Citation Source

  • Scopus