New study finds parents and teachers struggle to recognise symptoms of depression in children and young people

A new study from University of  Missouri-Columbia examined how patterns between student, teacher and parent reporting could be used to create a fuller picture of the child’s mental health. The researchers completed profile analyses of 643 school aged children (between the ages of 6 and 12). They found that while almost a third (30 per cent) of children in the study reported feeling mildly to severely depressed, parents and teachers often failed to recognize the child’s depression.  Although the team found that teachers and parents were more skilled at identifying other symptoms that might predict long-term risk for depression, such as social problems and  inattention. This could be crucial, as Herman found that the children showing severe signs of depression were six times more likely to have skill deficits than their peers.

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Lead researcher Keith Herman, professor in the MU College of Education said: “The gold standard for identifying children who might be at risk for developing depression later in life is to ask the children themselves,” Herman said. “However, even if a child doesn’t say they feel depressed, certain outward behaviors might provide clues to the state of the child’s mental health. It’s important for teachers and parents to catch these behaviors early to prevent long-term problems that occur with depression.” (Source: Science Daily)

Full story at Science Daily Depressed children 6 times more likely to have skill deficits, MU study finds

Happiful magazine New Study Finds Parents and Teachers Struggle To Recognise Signs Of Depression In Children

Full reference: Herman, K. C. et al |2018| Using latent profile and transition analyses to understand patterns of informant ratings of child depressive symptoms|  Journal of School Psychology| P. 69, 84-99| https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2018.05.004

Abstract

The present study examined the latent profiles of child, parent, and teacher ratings of child depressive symptoms in a developmental sample of children from Hawaii at two time points (2nd and 3rd grade). The study attempted to identify patterns of agreement and discrepancy among raters and correlates of these patterns to test a new theory for understanding rating disagreements as Divergent Operations. Three profiles best described the ratings at both time points: Child-Only High Depression, Child-Only Mild Depression, and Normative (non-depressed). Second and third grade measures of child social skills, externalizing symptoms, attention problems, and language and academic competence confirmed the distinctiveness of these classes which provides support for a Divergent Operations perspective. Latent transition analyses suggested that depressive symptoms were relatively transient for each class. Implications regarding the measurement and identification of child depressive symptoms across development and the meaning and use of discrepant ratings are discussed.

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