1 in 10 children has a mental disorder
One in ten children in Great Britain aged 5-16 had a clinically recognisable mental disorder in 2004. This was the same as the proportion recorded in the 1999 survey.
In 2004, 4 per cent of children had an emotional disorder (anxiety or depression), 6 per cent had a conduct disorder, 2 per cent had a hyperkinetic disorder, and 1 per cent had a less common disorder (including autism, tics, eating disorders and selective mutism). Two per cent of children had more than one type of disorder.
Boys were more likely than girls to have a mental disorder. Among 5-10 year olds, 10 per cent of boys and 5 per cent of girls had a mental disorder. Among 11-16 year olds, the proportions were 13 per cent for boys and 10 per cent for girls.
The prevalence of mental disorders also varied by some family characteristics. It was greater among children in lone parent families (16 per cent) than among those in two parent families (8 per cent), and in families with neither parent working (20 per cent) compared with those in which both parents worked (8 per cent). In addition, 17 per cent of children whose interviewed parent had no educational qualifications had a mental disorder compared with 4 per cent of children where the interviewed parent had a degree level qualification (4 per cent)
One per cent of children aged 5-16 had autistic spectrum disorder. The majority of these children were boys (82 per cent).
Unlike children with the more common disorders, autistic children tended to have more highly qualified parents than other children: 46 per cent had parents with qualifications above GCSE compared with 35 per cent of other children. Similarly, autistic children were less likely to live in low income families: only 9 per cent lived in households with a gross weekly income of less than £200 per week compared with 20 per cent of other children.
Source: Survey of the mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004
Notes: The 2004 survey of the mental health of children and young people in Great Britain is the second in a series of national surveys commissioned by the Department of Health and the Scottish Executive.
The surveyed population consisted of children and young people, aged 5-16, living in private households in Great Britain. Fieldwork for the survey took place between March and June 2004.
The term ‘mental disorder’ is as defined by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) to imply a clinically recognisable set of symptoms or behaviour associated in most cases with considerable distress and substantial interference with personal functions.