Children With Depression Are Prone To Poor Adult Health and Functioning, Study Finds

Mental Health News: Depression in youth, between the ages of 10 and 24 years, is both a leading cause of stress and a possible risk factor for future diseases and impairment.

This new study aimed to identify the effects of childhood/adolescent depression on a broad range of longer-term outcomes. Researchers analysed the data from Great Smoky Mountains Study, an ongoing longitudinal community-based project tracking the health of 1,420 participants from the rural US Southeast that has been ongoing since 1993.

The participants underwent structured Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment interview up to 8 times in childhood (age 9−16 years) for DSM-based depressive disorders, associated psychiatric comorbidities, and childhood adversities. They were followed up 4 times in adulthood (ages 19, 21, 25, and 30 years) with the structured Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment Interview for psychiatric outcomes and functional outcomes.

The study published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, confirms that depression in childhood or adolescence is associated with higher levels of adult anxiety and substance use disorders, worse health and social functioning, less financial and educational achievement, and increased criminality.

Researchers also found that children who received specialty mental health services to address their mental health challenges were less likely to have worsening mental health problems — particularly anxiety — as they entered adulthood.

“Our findings underscore the importance of timely and effective treatment, but we should also consider additional support needs during the transition to adulthood,” said Ulf Jonsson, an Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Copeland, W. E., Alaie, I., Jonsson, U., & Shanahan, L. (2021). Associations of childhood and adolescent depression with adult psychiatric and functional outcomes. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry60(5), 604-611. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2020.07.895

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