THE RELATIONSHIP of socioeconomic factors to the prevalence and severity of mental illness in the community is by now well recognized. It has clearly been demonstrated that low socioeconomic status is associated with increased prevalence and severity of mental illness requiring treatment.1-4 Former studies, however, have either treated children as an indistinguishable component of the total patient population1,2 or have eliminated them entirely from direct consideration.3,4 Attention has been given to this question in the case of adolescents, who appear to follow the pattern of the adult population.5 Yet children have so far not been given adequate consideration in this regard.
Several studies have presented evidence indicating that in the case of "organic" mental illness and mental retardation, there is an increased prevalence of impairment in lower socioeconomic groups most probably reflecting an increased incidence of prenatal and paranatal complications.6-8 It
Williams DT, Sherwin AC, Schwartz MS. Effects of Socioeconomic Factors on Childhood Psychiatric Impairment. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(3):368-372. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740210112017