In this study in seven primary care facilities the proportion of children recognized as having behavioral, educational, or social problems was much higher than generally assumed. Although there was great variability among the facilities, at least 5% and as many as 15% of children seen in one year were diagnosed as having these problems in all but the hospital teaching facilities. The prevalence was even higher among children from poor families. The variability among facilities was much less for psychosomatic problems, which were diagnosed in 8% to 10 % of the children. For both psychosocial and psychosomatic types of problems, but especially for psychosocial ones, the proportion of visits with the diagnoses was much lower than the proportion of children with them, so that these problems engendered fewer visits for their management than might have been expected from their frequency in the population. However, available evidence suggests that individuals with unresolved psychosocial problems make more than their share of visits for other diagnoses. The findings of this study have implications for the content of educational programs for primary care practitioners, for the organization of primary care practice, and for the current debate over policy concerning reimbursement and benefit packages.

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