Phase I of the detecting and evaluating childhood anxiety and depression effectively in subspecialties (decades) study: Development of an integrated mental health care model for pediatric gastroenterology

Stephanie E. Hullmann, Stacy A. Keller, Dustin O. Lynch, Kelli Jenkins, Courtney Moore, Brandon Cockrum, Sarah E. Wiehe, Aaron E. Carroll, William E. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Children with gastrointestinal symptoms have a very high rate of anxiety and depression. Rapid identification of comorbid anxiety and depression is essential for effective treatment of a wide variety of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Objective: The objective of our study was to determine patient and parent attitudes toward depression, anxiety, and mental health screening during gastroenterology (GI) visits and to determine patient and parent preferences for communication of results and referral to mental health providers after a positive screen. Methods: We augmented standard qualitative group session methods with patient-centered design methods to assess patient and parent preferences. We used a variety of specific design methods in these sessions, including card sorting, projective methods, experience mapping, and constructive methods. Results: Overall, 11 families (11 patients and 14 parents) participated in 2 group sessions. Overall, patients and their parents found integrated mental health care to be acceptable in the subspecialty setting. Patients' primary concerns were for the privacy and confidentiality of their screening results. Patients and their parents emphasized the importance of mental health services not interfering with the GI visit and collaboration between the GI physician, psychologist, and primary care provider. Conclusions: Patients and their families are open to integrated mental health care in the pediatric subspecialty clinic. The next phase of the DECADES study will translate patient and parent preferences into an integrated mental health care system and test its efficacy in the pediatric GI office.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10655
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018



  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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