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Fifteen percent of pre-schoolers suffer depression

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Child depression and anxiety

Anxiety and depression in pre-schoolers is the target of a new study from University of Montreal researchers. Findings show that fifteen percent of pre-schoolers suffer from high levels of anxiety and depression, and that early interventions are needed for pre-schoolers are risk.

Research was conducted over a five year period. The study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that pre-schoolers at risk for anxiety and depression were most likely to have mothers with a history of depression.

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First author Sylvana M. Côté, a professor at the Université de Montréal's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine warns that infants with a difficult temperament at five months of age was the most important predictor of anxiety and depression among pre-school children. "Our study is the first to show that infant temperament and lifetime maternal depression can lead to a high trajectory of depressive and anxiety problems before school entry."

Predicting anxiety and depression in children is possible in the first year of life. "As early as the first year of life, there are indications that some children have more risks than others to develop high levels of depression and anxiety”, writes Côté. "Health professionals should target such high risk children at infancy, as well as their parents, to have a long-term impact on their well-being."

Preventing anxiety and depression in pre-schoolers can help eliminate long-term mental health problems. The study looked at 1,758 children born in Québec, using extensive information taken from interviews with mothers to find risk factors of anxiety and depression among pre-schoolers.

UdeM News