UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Center for Mental Health Services Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Psychotropic Drugs; Drug Prescriptions; Physician's Practice Patterns; Mental Disorders; Adolescent; Child; Healthcare Disparities


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Citation: Fortuna, L., Fulwiler, C., Torres Stone, R., Smith, L. & Biebel, K. (2008). Disparities in Child and Adolescent Psychoactive Medication Prescription Practices by Race and Ethnicity. Worcester, MA: Center for Mental Health Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Key Points: (1) Compared to their non-Latino white counterparts, children and adolescents from racial-ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to receive prescriptions for psychoactive medication; (2) Racial-ethnic minority children and adolescents are also significantly less likely to receive mental health care; (3) Controlling for access to mental health care and for geographic variation reduces but does not eliminate variations in psychoactive prescriptions by race and ethnicity; (4) Controlling for mental health need and level of impairment does not eliminate variations in psychoactive prescriptions by race and ethnicity; (5) Reducing disparities will require coordinated efforts to educate families and providers, promotion of evidence-based practices, steps to overcome geographic and language barriers, and additional research for understanding the underlying reasons for variations in prescription patterns.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations



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