Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Child and Adolescent Pharmacology


Volume 24, Issue 2

Inclusive Pages



Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine psychiatrists' attitudes and practices in prescribing second-generation antipsychotics (SGA) to children and adolescents (referred to here as “children”) and identify factors associated with off-label SGA use.

Methods: A survey was mailed to a national, randomly selected sample of 1600 child and adolescent psychiatrists identified by the American Medical Association. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors, including psychiatrists' characteristics, practice characteristics, and psychiatrists' attitudes, that are associated with off-label SGA use (i.e., SGAs used in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, or nonbipolar mood disorders).

Results: The final sample included 340 psychiatrists. Overall, respondents reported higher use and appropriateness of SGAs for United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved disorders, symptoms of aggression, and older child age. More than one third (36%) of respondents reported some off-label SGA use. Significant predictors of off-label use were: Practicing at inpatient/residential facilities (odds ratio [OR]=4.2,p=0.001); white/non-Hispanic race/ethnicity (OR=0.3, p<0.0001), agreeing that SGAs should be used for ADHD with aggression (OR=7.1, p<0.0001); and agreeing that SGAs should be used for severe delinquent behaviors (OR=1.9, p=0.03).

Conclusions: Psychiatrists' attitudes about prescribing SGAs to children exhibiting aggressive symptoms were associated with off-label SGA use. Research is needed to understand the construct of aggression, potential interaction effects of aggression with diagnostic criteria, and their impact on SGA use.


This is a copy of an article published in Journal of Child and Adolescent Pharmacology © 2014 copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Journal of Child and Adolescent Pharmacology is available online at:

Peer Reviewed


Open Access