The aim of the study was 1) to identify recent and past life stresses as having a significant differential risk of childhood depression versus other childhood psychiatric illnesses, and 2) to establish if life stresses shared with other family members had a greater impact on the depression of the child than events of only personal relevance. Using a recently developed semi-structured interview (Diagnostic Evaluation Schedule for Children and Adolescents -Hungarian version, DESCA-H), 68 life events of a total sample of 526 children were investigated. Two hundred and fifteen depressed preadolescents (mean age 12.73 years, SD 2.58) were compared with identical variables of 311 nondepressed mixed clinical controls (mean age: 10.91 years, SD 2.46) referred to child psychiatry care with other psychiatric symptomatology than depression. The life event questionnaire part of the DESCA-H was administered separately by means of lists of recent (within 1 year) and past stresses (events prior to 1 year before the assessment). With the two series of life stresses, two separate logistic regression analyses were performed. Of past stressors, physical punishment of the child by teachers, serious financial problems of the family and mental health problems of family members were found to be significant predictors of depression. From the series of recent stresses, moving to a new school, somatic illness, death of relatives and mental health disorders of family members were proved to be independent risk factors of depression for the children. The findings suggest that significant stresses of the child shared with other family members dominate in demarcating depressed children from nondepressed ones. School-related stresses are critically discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health