By asking questions about a few key areas of a child's life, pediatricians can play an important role in psychosocial screening, Michael Jellinek, M.D., said at a Spring Session news briefing.

Dr. Jellinek, a liaison member to the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, said that by assessing five areas during the annual physical — school, play, friends, family and general mood — psychosocial problems can be detected and dealt with earlier.

Asking questions such as "Is your child having less fun?" or "Is your child worried about school?" can help detect psychosocial problems in children, said Dr. Jellinek, assistant professor of psychiatry (pediatrics) at Harvard Medical School and chief of child psychiatry at, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

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