A new government report states that more than 7 percent of American
schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or
In addition, researchers discovered that 7.5 percent of U.S. children
between the ages of 6 and 17 were taking medication for an emotional or
behavioral problem. Also, many more boys than girls were given
medication — 9.7 percent of boys compared with 5.2 percent of girls. Older
females were more likely than younger females to be given medication, but
the age difference among males wasn’t significant, according to the report.
White children were the most likely to be on psychiatric medications (9.2
percent), followed by black children (7.4 percent) and Hispanic children
(4.5 percent), according to the report.
The study found that significantly more children on Medicaid or the
Children’s Health Insurance Program were on medication f
or emotional and behavioral problems (9.9 percent), versus 6.7 percent
with private insurance and just 2.7 percent of children without insurance.
Additionally, more families living below 100 percent of the federal poverty
level had children taking medications for emotional and behavioral
problems than those above the federal poverty level.
55% percent of parents reported that these medications helped their
children “a lot,” while another 26 percent said they helped “some.” Just
under 19 percent said they didn’t help at all or helped just a little.
Parents of younger children (between 6 and 11) were a little more likely to
feel the medications helped a lot compared to parents of older children.
Parents of males were also more likely to feel the medications helped a lot —
about 58 percent of parents of males reported that they helped a lot
compared to about 50 percent of the parents of females.
In addition, the study showed that parents with incomes less than 100
percent of the federal poverty level were the least likely to feel the
medications helped a lot. Just 43 percent of those parents said the
medications helped a lot, while about 31 percent said they helped some.
More than one-quarter of these parents said the medications only helped a
little or not at all.