Psychology in primary health care: Effects of brief targeted therapy on children's medical care utilization

Jack W. Finney, Anne W. Riley, Michael F. Cataldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Evaluated the impact of psychological treatment for 93 children (ages 1-15) with common behavior, toilet, school, and psychosomatic problems. Children and parents, who were members of a health maintenance organization, had 1-6 visits to a primary care-based psychological consultation service. Individualized treatment was guided by problem-specific behavioral protocols. Parent outcome and behavior checklist ratings indicated improvement or resolution for 74% of children and high satisfaction with the psychological service. Children's use of medical services, especially acute primary care visits, was reduced during the year after treatment; a matched comparison group's use was unchanged. Addressing children's unmet mental health needs reduces medical care utilization. A primary health care model of psychological services provides an integrated system for serving the health and mental health needs of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-461
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1991


  • Behavioral pediatrics
  • Health maintenance organization
  • Medical care utilization
  • Pediatric psychology
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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