Family Demographics of Clinically Referred Children: What We Know and What We Need to Know

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Socioeconomic Status, Empirical Study, Marital Status, Clinical Research, Demographic Data

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Published empirical studies were reviewed to establish family demographics of clinically referred children and adolescents. Data on parental marital status were collected from studies of referred and nonreferred children and adolescents in six empirical journals. Data on family socioeconomic status (SES) and child race or ethnicity were also collected. Based on 86 studies that presented parental marital status, 56.4% of clinically referred children and adolescents live with both their biological mother and biological father. Family SES data were difficult to summarize because of the different methods of presenting this information. When considering race and ethnicity, 86% of the children and adolescents in the clinical samples were Caucasian American. Of the studies that were originally reviewed, 80.4% did not include parental marital status and 36. 7% did not include SES, race, or ethnicity of the participants. There were no significant differences between journals in the rates of inclusion of family demographic data. In addition to revealing family demographic information about children and adolescents who participate in clinical research, these data highlight the lack of consistency in the presentation of family demographic data in published research. Suggestions are provided to help researchers colled and present meaningful family demographic data in clinical and nonclinical research with children and adolescents.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, v. 24, issue 6, p. 787-801