Promoting mental health competency in residency training

Nerissa S. Bauer, Paula D. Sullivan, Anna M. Hus, Stephen M. Downs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the effect our developmental-behavioral pediatrics (DBP) curricular model had on residents' comfort with handling mental health issues. Methods: From August 2007 to January 2010, residents participating in the Indiana University DBP rotation completed a self-assessment questionnaire at baseline and at rotation end. Residents rated their comfort with the identification, treatment, and counseling of mental health problems using a 5-point scale. Results: Ninety-four residents completed both self-assessments. At baseline, categorical pediatric residents possessed higher comfort levels toward identification (mean 2.8 vs. 2.3 for non-categorical pediatrics residents, p< 0.05), treatment (2.6 vs. 2.2, p< 0.05) and counseling of mental health issues (2.7 vs. 2.1, p< 0.005). Residents who were parents were also more comfortable. At rotation end, all residents showed significant improvements in self-rated comfort (4.0 vs. 2.6 for identification, p≤ 0.05; 4.0 vs. 2.4 for treatment, p≤ 0.05; and 4.0 vs. 2.4 for counseling, p≤ 0.05). This remained true regardless of being a categorical pediatric resident, a parent, or primary care-oriented. Conclusion: Our curricular model promotes residents' comfort with handling common mental health issues in practice. Practice implications: Increasing residents' comfort may influence the frequency of active discussion of mental health issues during well-child visits and lead to earlier diagnosis and needed treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e260-e264
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Anticipatory guidance
  • Child behavior
  • Competency
  • Mental health
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Bauer, N. S., Sullivan, P. D., Hus, A. M., & Downs, S. M. (2011). Promoting mental health competency in residency training. Patient Education and Counseling, 85(3), e260-e264.