15 percent pre-schoolers depressed

Almost 15 percent of pre-school students are beset with high levels of depression and anxiety, according to a new study.


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Published: Sun 30 Aug 2009, 9:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:36 AM

The investigation, which was carried out over a period of five years, also found that such children are more likely to have mothers with a history of depression.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Universites of Montreal, Laval and McGill, as well as Inserm (Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale) France, Carnegie Mellon University in the US and University College, Dublin Ireland.

”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,” says study co-author Sylvana M. Cote, professor in social and preventive medicine at Montreal University.

”Difficult temperament at five months was the most important predictor of depression and anxiety in children,” Cote said.

Scientists annually evaluated a representative sample of pre-schoolers from five months to five years of age. All 1,758 children were born in Quebec and mothers provided information during extensive interviews on behaviour and family members, according to a release.

”We found that lifetime maternal depression was the second most important predictor of a typically high depressive and anxiety problems during pre-school years,” stresses Cote.

”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.”

”It is critical that preventive interventions be experimented with infants who risk developing depressive and anxiety disorders,” adds Cote.

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