Conduct problems (CP) in childhood are important concerns for the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux (MSSS), as they can have long-term consequences for children, families, and society. One of the consequences of childhood CP is related to increased medical service use. The link between childhood CP and increased medical service use in adulthood has been established, however, there is little knowledge on whether differences observed in adult medical service usage are already present in childhood or whether they gradually grow during adolescence. We also have little information on risk/protective factors and sex differences that may be associated with variations in medical service use and costs among youth with CP. Another important long-term implication of CP can be the development of comorbid difficulties, such as depression or substance use problems; however, the timing in the development of these comorbid problems, their sequences, and their co-evolution especially among those with early CP is still not established.
This information is nevertheless essential for planning effective services and identifying targets for tertiary prevention aimed at reducing suffering and service costs. In order to contribute knowledge on these issues, this program of research consists of three studies that will incorporate data on medical service use provided by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec and the MSSS, and information on self-reported physical and mental health into an ongoing longitudinal study of 748 boys and girls (6 to 9 years) with and without CP who have been followed for eight years. Knowledge generated will help inform services, by identifying specific time periods and intervention targets where intensifying preventive efforts might yield positive results in terms of deflecting negative physical and mental health trajectories, as well as trajectories of increased medical service usage.