Enhancing the primary care pediatrician's role in managing psychosocial issues: a cross sectional study of pediatricians and parents in Israel

Hava Gadassi, Inbal Millo David, Maya Yaari, Eitan Kerem, Manuel Katz, Basil Porter, Chen Stein-Zamir, Zachi Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Psychosocial issues are an integral part of children's health and well-being, and it is widely acknowledged that pediatricians should be involved in their management. We examined the current perception of the pediatrician’s role in the management of psychosocial problems in Israel from the perspective of parents and pediatricians, and identified possible barriers. Methods: We assessed parents' and pediatricians' perspectives through a cross sectional survey. 1000 parents with children under 10 were randomly selected from a large database representing the Israeli population and phone-surveyed by a polling company. Due to a low response-rate (5.4%), there was an overrepresentation of married parents and underrepresentation of parents with primary or secondary education. 173 Pediatricians were recruited both at a medical conference and by a web-based questionnaire. Results: 55% of the parents reported they were concerned with at least one psychosocial problem, yet less than 50% of them discussed these issues with the pediatrician. 59.9% of the parents did not perceive psychosocial problems as relevant to the pediatrician's role. Pediatricians with some previous training related to psychosocial issues were more likely to report on a lack of professional confidence (p =.037) and insufficient available resources (p =.022) as barriers to their involvement, while pediatricians who had no training were more likely to report on the parents' perception of their role as the barrier to involvement (p =.035). Conclusions: Parents tend to avoid the discussion of psychosocial concerns in pediatric settings due to their perception that it's irrelevant to the pediatrician's role. Trained pediatricians feel unconfident in their ability to manage psychosocial issues and report on a lack of suitable resources. These findings suggest current pediatric mental-health training is insufficient to equip pediatricians with the knowledge and skills required to their involvement in psychosocial problems, and imply necessary changes to environment of community-based pediatrics. In order to change the practice of pediatricians in the community to enable them to address a variety of psychological issues, appropriate training is needed, through all stages of the pediatrician’s professional life, including medical school, pediatric residency and continuous medical education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • New morbidity
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychosocial problems


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