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Physical-mental multimorbidity in children and youth: a scoping review


Romano, Isabella; Buchan, M. Claire; Baiocco-Romano, Leonardo; Ferro, Mark A. (2021), Physical-mental multimorbidity in children and youth: a scoping review, Dryad, Dataset,


OBJECTIVE: Efforts to describe the current state of research are needed to advance the field of physical-mental multimorbidity (i.e., the co-occurrence of at least one physical illness and at least one mental disorder) among children and youth. Our objective was to systematically explore the breadth of physical-mental multimorbidity research in children and youth, and to provide an overview of existing literature topics.

DESIGN: Scoping review

METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of four key databases: PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Scopus, as well as a thorough scan of relevant grey literature. We included studies of any research design, published in English, referring to physical-mental multimorbidity among children and youth aged ≤18 years. Studies were screened for eligibility and data were extracted, charted, and summarized narratively by research focus. Critical appraisal was employed using the modified Quality Index (QI).

RESULTS: We included 431 studies and two sources of grey literature. Existing research emphasizes the co-occurrence of anxiety, mood, and attention disorders among children with epilepsy, asthma, and allergy. Evidence consists of mostly small, observational studies that use cross-sectional data. The average QI score across applicable studies was 9.1 (SD = 1.8).

CONCLUSIONS: There is a pressing need for more robust research within the field of child physical-mental multimorbidity.