Psychiatric disorders among American Indian and white youth in Appalachia: the Great Smoky Mountains Study.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVES: This study examined prevalence of psychiatric disorders, social and family risk factors for disorders, and met and unmet needs for mental health care among Appalachian youth. METHODS: All 9-, 11-, and 13-year-old American Indian children in an 11-county area of the southern Appalachians were recruited, together with a representative sample of the surrounding population of White children. RESULTS: Three-month prevalences of psychiatric disorders were similar (American Indian, 16.7%; White, 19.2%). Substance use was more common in American Indian children (9.0% vs 3.8% in White children), as was comorbidity of substance use and psychiatric disorder (2.5% vs 0.9%). American Indian poverty, family adversity (e.g., parental unemployment, welfare dependency), and family deviance (parental violence, substance abuse, and crime) rates were higher, but the rate of family mental illness, excluding substance abuse, was lower. Child psychiatric disorder and mental health service use were associated with family mental illness in both ethnic groups but were associated with poverty and family deviance only in White children. Despite lower financial barriers, American Indian children used fewer mental health services. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that poverty and crime play different roles in different communities in the etiology of child psychiatric disorder.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Costello, EJ; Farmer, EM; Angold, A; Burns, BJ; Erkanli, A

Published Date

  • May 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 87 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 827 - 832

PubMed ID

  • 9184514

Pubmed Central ID

  • 9184514

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0090-0036

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2105/ajph.87.5.827


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States