First and second graders who report above average levels of anxiety are more likely to be depressed as adolescents. Girls in primary grades who exhibit anti-social behaviors are particularly at risk.
Researchers from the University of Washington followed 800 children in first and second grade until they entered the eighth and tenth grades. Dr. James Mazza and his colleagues asked the children, their family, and teachers about their levels of depression, social skills, and anti-social behaviors.
"One finding from this study that is a mind-grabber is that young children can identify themselves as being anxious and depressed," said Dr. Mazza. "We were a bit surprised because we thought they'd say, 'My life is fun and I play a lot.'" This supports the notion that even children as young as 6 years old can provide valuable information about themselves.
Boys who display anti-social behaviors and anxiety as very young children often continue to "act out" in anti-social ways. Girls tend to turn their anxiety inward, and suffer from eating disorders, anxiety, and suicidal behaviors as adolescents.
This study appears in the Journal of Early Adolescence
Labels: depression, children, teenagers
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