September 2, 2009

Preschoolers affected by depression

Canadian researchers and international colleagues say depression and anxiety affect up to 15 percent of preschoolers.

The study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found children with high depression and anxiety were more likely to have mothers with a history of depression.

Researchers from the University of Laval in Quebec City, University of Montreal and McGill University, both in Montreal, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, University College Dublin and the Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale in Paris, annually evaluated a representative sample of 1,758 preschoolers born in Quebec. Mothers provided information on the children in extensive interviews.

As early as age 1, there are indications that some children are at higher risk of developing high levels of depression and anxiety, first author Sylvana M. Cote of the University de Montreal said in a statement.

Difficult temperament at 5 months was the most important predictor of depression and anxiety in the children, Cote said in a statement.