Call for Research: Detecting Early Vulnerability for Psychiatric Hospitalization

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Abstract

This study delineated the extent to which a broad set of risk factors in youth, a period well suited to primary prevention strategies, influences the likelihood and timing of first lifetime psychiatric hospitalizations. Logistic regression was used to delineate early risk factors for psychiatric hospitalization among Americans in a nationally representative survey (NCS-R, Part II, 2001–2003: N = 5,692). Results suggest that inpatient stay is more common and happens at earlier ages among Americans who report growing up with versus without: (1) depressed parents or caregivers, (2) family members who victimized them, or (3) one of three child mental illnesses (conduct, oppositional defiant, or separation anxiety disorder). In order to prevent inpatient stay, findings call for longitudinal research on early vulnerability for psychiatric hospitalization among families with: (1) depressed parents of children or adolescents, (2) violence against children, and (3) children that have externalizing or separation anxiety disorders.