Posts Tagged ‘ childhood depression ’

Kids Exposed to Mom’s Depression More Likely to Become Delinquents

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Sad woman sitting alone silhouetteIt’s almost a rite of passage for kids to rebel as they get older, but a new study published online in Pediatrics reveals a reason why some kids can go beyond general misbehavior.

HealthDay reports that young kids with depressed mothers were more likely to smoke, use drugs and alcohol, and engage in violence during their early teens. In fact, children exposed to depression from ages “6 to 10 [were] actually more strongly associated with those risky health behaviors,” says Ian Colman, co-author of the study.

Research for the study was conducted in Canada and started in 1994, with 2,900 pairs of moms and children (ages 2-5) being analyzed. Moms were given a questionnaire to fill out every two years, with questions about their own lives, plus their partners’ and children’s lives. When the kids reached age 10, they were given their own questionnaires to fill out, until they reached age 16 or 17. Their questions focused on substance use, stealing, carrying weapons, fighting, being approached by police, sex, suicide attempts, and other delinquent behaviors.

Data from the decade-long results revealed that 4 percent of the mothers who were depressed were more likely to have troubled teens. Researchers noted that these troubled teens were 1.4 times more to drink, 2 times more likely to smoke, and 3 times more like to use drugs than teens who did not have depressed mothers.

While this study does not prove that a mother’s depression definitely leads to delinquency, as many other factors (such as genetics, parenting styles, and family environments) can affect a child’s development. The study also did not focus on how a father’s depression may affect kids, but Colman believes there is likely a similar correlation between the two factors.

Parents, especially mothers, who are experiencing depression should still get help from a trained medical professional to help alleviate the stress of parenting.

Postpartum Depression:
Postpartum Depression:
Postpartum Depression: "I couldn't even talk... without crying."

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Image: Sad woman sitting alone silhouette via Shutterstock

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The Lasting Effects of Preschool Depression

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

sad young girlIt’s sad enough to consider the fact that very young children can suffer from depression, but a new study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry shows that there’s even more reason to be concerned about the condition.

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that “preschool onset depression, a developmentally adapted form of depression arising between ages 3 and 6 … emerged as a robust predictor of major depressive disorder in later childhood.”

The study followed nearly 250 kids, starting at ages 3–5 until ages 9–12, and discovered that “depressed preschoolers were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from the condition in elementary and middle school than kids who were not depressed at very young ages,” according to a statement released by the University.

As the Journal‘s study concluded:

Study findings provide evidence that this preschool depressive syndrome is a robust risk factor for developing full criteria for major depression in later childhood, over and above other established risk factors. The results suggest that attention to preschool depression and conduct disorder in addition to maternal history of depression and exposure to trauma may be important in identifying young children at highest risk for later major depression and applying early interventions.

That’s a depressing finding, to be sure, but there is some good news, according to child psychiatrist Joan L. Luby, MD, the director of the University’s Early Emotional Development Program, who said in the statement: “…if we can identify depression early, perhaps we have a window of opportunity to treat it more effectively and potentially change the trajectory of the illness so that it is less likely to be chronic and recurring.”

Image of a sad young girl: Shutterstock

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Study: Depression Makes Kids a Target for Bullies

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Most of us think that being bullied makes children depressed, but a new study finds a different story: kids who show signs of depression are more likely to attract the wrath of bullies.

Published in the journal Child Development, the study followed 486 children through fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, monitoring the students’ depression symptoms and surveying parents, teachers, and the kids themselves to find out how well they got along with peers.

From CNN.com:

Fourth graders who showed signs of depression were more likely than their classmates to be victimized as fifth graders, and kids who were picked on in fifth grade tended to be less accepted by their peers in sixth grade.

By contrast, the researchers found little evidence that being bullied increased a child’s risk of becoming depressed in later grades.

Lead author Karen P. Kochel, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at Arizona State University, says bullies tend to seek out victims who are unlikely to fight back, and depression can make kids appear vulnerable. Depression can also leave children without the social skills they need to cope.

The CNN.com report continues:

The findings, Kochel says, drive home how important it is for parents and teachers to be aware of the signs of depression in children, arrange for treatment if needed, and help depressed children socialize and get along with their peers. The cycle of depression and victimization is likely to get worse if left unchecked, since depressive symptoms tend to intensify during the teen years, she says.

You can find more on depression symptoms in children here.

 

Image: Upset boy with backpack via Shutterstock.

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Study: Fathers’ Depression Raises Risk of Childhood Emotional, Behavioral Issues

Monday, November 7th, 2011

A study that will be published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics shows that children whose fathers show signs of depression are 70 percent more likely to develop emotional or behavioral problems themselves.

The new research builds on earlier findings that show correlation between maternal depression and child depression. This is the first major study that examines paternal depression and its effect on children.

CNN.com reports:

“For years we’ve been studying maternal depression and how it affects children, but the medical community has done a huge disservice by ignoring fathers in this research,” said the study’s lead author, Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatric medicine at New York University, in New York. “These findings reinforce what we already assumed — that fathers matter, too, and they matter quite a lot.”

The situation is predictably worse if both parents are depressed. Just 6% of children with two mentally healthy parents have serious emotional or behavioral problems, such as feeling sad or nervous, acting out at school, or clashing with family and peers, the study found. But that proportion increases to 11% if the father is depressed, 19% if the mother is depressed and 25% if both parents are depressed — a strikingly high number, Weitzman says.

Although the study doesn’t prove that a parent’s depression directly causes problems in children, rather than vice versa, previous research on mothers and children has clearly shown that it’s generally mothers who influence kids’ mental health, not the other way around.

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