The purpose of the study was to examine how access factors affect prescribing practices of psychotropic medications among pediatricians. More specifically, the aim of the current study was to examine differences in the treatment of mental and behavioral health problems among children and adolescents across small nonmetropolitan, regional, metropolitan, and urban settings across the United States.
A total of 516 pediatricians working in outpatient clinics located in 12 US states, 3 in each of the following regions: New England, the Plains, the Pacific Northwest, and the South completed surveys on their prescription practices for children and adolescents with mental and behavioral health needs.
Findings indicate that pediatricians in small nonmetropolitan settings with populations of fewer than 20,000 prescribe antidepressants; antianxiety, antipanic, and antiobsessive medication; antipsychotics; and mood stabilizers significantly more frequently than their counterparts in urban, metropolitan, and regional settings.
Implications of these findings for clinical practice and training are discussed.