Serious child and adolescent behaviour disorders: A valuation study by professionals, youth and parents

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Background: In child and youth care, quantitative estimates of the impact of serious behaviour problems have not yet been made. Such input is needed to support decision making on investments in treatment. The aim of this paper was to elicit valuations of social and conduct disorders in children and adolescents from three different perspectives: professionals, youth, and parents.

Methods: We obtained valuations from 25 youth care professionals, 50 children (age 9-10) without serious behaviour problems and 36 adolescents (age 16-17) with and without serious behaviour disorders, and 46 parents with children in the aforementioned age categories. Valuations were estimated from 18 descriptions of behaviour disorders in youth aged 9 and 15 years. Descriptions included Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD), and Disruptive Behaviour Disorder (DBD). Comorbid conditions were Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and substance abuse. Valuations were obtained with the EuroQol questionnaire (EQ-5D-3 L) and a visual analogue scale (VAS).

Results: Valuations were generally severe; problems were by and large reported to worsen quality of life by 50% compared to being fully healthy. Professionals regarded DBD with substance abuse as most severe (VAS values 0.41 for children, and 0.43 for adolescents, i.e. less than half of normal). They rated ODD as least severe (VAS values 0.58 for children, 0.59 for adolescents). Children, adolescents and parents gave lower valuations than professionals, and had a wider range of scores, particularly at the lower end of the scale.

Conclusions: Behaviour disorders pose a formidable burden from the perspectives of professionals as well as children, adolescents and parents. These results may support medical decision making to set priorities with regard to prevention and treatment based on perceived severity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number208
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2-Jun-2017


  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Valuations
  • Utility
  • Behaviour disorders
  • EQ-5D

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