Ten years of infant mental health in the Netherlands: Who are the clients?

H. Dekelver*, A. Hoekstra, H. J. A. van Bakel, N. Marchetta, T. A. M. J. van Amelsvoort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Infant Mental Health (IMH) is a topic of current interest that emerged over the past decades, concerned with alleviating suffering and enhancing the social and emotional competence of young children. Worldwide there is increasing recognition of infant psychopathology meriting intervention. However, there are still limited data regarding the prevalence of psychiatric disorders and sociodemographic characteristics of these youngest of patients in clinical settings.

This large, descriptive study aims at presenting the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of infants referred consecutively to three outpatient Infant Mental Health teams in the Netherlands between September 2000 and July 2013.

The medical records of 783 infants were retrospectively examined and the data were collected from paper and electronic patient files. Clinical and socio-demographic characteristics were categorized in child factors, developmental milestones, family factors and clinical outcome measures (DSM-IV, DC:0-3R, WIPPSI-III, SON-R 2½-7).

Our sample showed significantly more boys (543, 69%) than girls (240, 31%) being referred to the Infant Mental Health teams. Most children were referred when they were four or five years of age, both boys and girls. Mean duration of treatment was about a year and a half (20.34 months, SD 18.87) and most reported diagnoses were ADHD/behavioral disorders, ASS and disorder in infancy/childhood NOS. Familial psychiatric disorders were reported in 242 families (41%). These findings are discussed in the light of earlier research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-983
JournalMental Health in Family Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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