The epidemiology of child psychiatric disorders is the study of the incidence, prevalence, and distribution of conditions in child and adolescent psychiatry. Subfields of pediatric psychiatric epidemiology include developmental epidemiology, which focuses on the genetic and environmental causes of child psychiatric disorders. The field of pediatric psychiatric epidemiology finds widely varying rates of childhood psychiatric disorders, depending on study population, diagnostic method, and cultural setting.
Prevalence of mental illness
A 2016 study conducted in the United States found that 17.4% of children between the ages of 2 and 8 have a mental, behavioral, or mental health disorder. Epidemiological research conducted in 2005 has shown that between 3% and 18% of children have a psychiatric disorder causing significant functional impairment (reasons for these widely divergent prevalence rates are discussed below) and a median prevalence estimate of 12% has been proposed.