Open Access Research

The practice of child and adolescent psychiatry: a survey of early-career psychiatrists in Japan

Masaru Tateno1*, Naoki Uchida2, Saya Kikuchi3, Ryosaku Kawada4, Seiju Kobayashi1, Wakako Nakano5, Ryuji Sasaki6, Keisuke Shibata7, Tomohiro Shirasaka1, Muneyuki Suzuki8, Kumi Uehara9 and Toshikazu Saito1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Sapporo Medical University, School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan

2 Department of Psychiatry, Fukuoka University, School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan

3 Department of Psychiatry, Tohoku University, Graduate school of Medicine, Sendai, Japan

4 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

5 Department of Psychiatry, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan

6 Division of Neuropsychiatry, Sunagawa City Medical Center, Sunagawa, Japan

7 Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan

8 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kyushu University Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan

9 Kanagawa Psychiatry Medical Center Serigaya Hospital, Yokohama, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2009, 3:30  doi:10.1186/1753-2000-3-30

Published: 28 September 2009

Abstract

Background

Child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP), a subspecialty of psychiatry in Japan, is facing a serious workforce shortage. To resolve this situation, the Japanese government has organized a task force and has been working to increase psychiatrists' clinical skills to improve care for children and adolescents with mental health problems. Using an online questionnaire system, the authors have conducted a survey to investigate the perceptions, experiences, and interests of early-career psychiatrists in CAP.

Methods

The subjects of this study were 182 psychiatrists in Japan whose individual clinical experiences did not exceed 15 years. The authors of this study created an online questionnaire system and e-mailed the URL and login password to all subjects. Respondents anonymously answered the questions. Most questions required an answer indicating a level of agreement scored on a nine-point scale. Responding to the questionnaire was considered to constitute consent, and all respondents' privacy was carefully protected.

Results

The mean age and clinical psychiatric experience of the subjects were found to be 33.1 ± 4.5 years and 5.43 ± 3.5 years, respectively. On a nine-point scale (with nine being the highest), experience and interest in CAP measured 3.05 ± 1.9 and 5.34 ± 2.5, respectively; further, these two factors showed significant correlation (r = 0.437, p < 0.0001). The mean score for the early-career psychiatrists' confidence in their ability to diagnose and appropriately treat was notably low, at 3.13 ± 1.9.

Conclusion

Our results demonstrated that early-career psychiatrists self-evaluated their CAP clinical experience as insufficient, and these clinicians' CAP experiences and interests correlated significantly. Therefore, in order to improve child and adolescent medical care, we need to expose young psychiatrists to sufficient CAP cases and explore the factors that could attract them to this field.