Child versus Adult Research
Services research is often dichotomized into child versus adult mental health issues. This child-adult split has been characterized as just one of many categories in services research (eg, psychology versus psychiatry, community versus inpatient). Child mental health and adult mental health research offer qualitatively different challenges to researchers. Some researchers have asserted that mental health policy regarding children is arguably more important nationally than adult policy. However, research, theory, knowledge, and legislation in children’s mental health services has lagged far behind that in the adult field. In contrast, as the average age of the U.S. population continues to climb, issues facing the elderly will demand attention. The key is the realization that research in these areas is qualitatively different and that findings in one area may not generalize to another. However, as discussed in the “Implications for Future Research” section of this chapter, now is the time for researchers, clinicians, and advocates to develop mutual respect for one another and collaboratively advocate for parity in resources allocated to mental health issues.