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J Pediatr Psychol. 1994 Apr;19(2):149-69.

Depression among children with chronic medical problems: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia 19129.


Reviewed 60 studies of depressive symptoms among children and adolescents with chronic medical problems. Findings indicate that children with a chronic medical problem are at slightly elevated risk for depressive symptoms but that most are not clinically depressed. Although great variability in depressive symptoms was found across children with the same disorder, children with certain disorders (e.g., asthma, recurrent abdominal pain, sickle cell anemia) may be at greater risk than children with other disorders (e.g., cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes mellitus). Disorder severity was inconsistently related to depressive symptoms, while time since diagnosis, gender, and age were generally unrelated to symptoms. Parent (vs. child) ratings and the use of community (vs. normative) control groups were associated with higher ratings of depressive symptoms among children with a chronic medical problem.

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