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Predictors and correlates of high levels of depression and anxiety symptoms among children at age 10.

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Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



To identify factors that predict or are correlated with symptoms of depression and anxiety in 10-year-olds.


Women and their offspring were followed from the fourth prenatal month through 10 years. There were 636 mother-child pairs at 10 years, a follow-up rate of 83% of the birth cohort. Cognitive, psychological, sociodemographic, and environmental factors were measured at each phase. High depression and anxiety were defined as having a number of symptoms >1 SD above the mean for each measure. These measures were combined to represent high depression and/or anxiety (D/A) at 10 years of age.


Predictors from the prenatal period of D/A at 10 years were more maternal depression symptoms, African American race, less social support, greater household density, and prenatal marijuana exposure. From 18 months through 6 years, lower child IQ, child injuries at age 3, and attention problems predicted symptoms of D/A at age 10. Across all study phases, lower child IQ, household density during pregnancy, attention problems, early childhood injuries, and prenatal marijuana exposure predicted D/A. Maternal psychological and sociodemographic factors were not significant in the final model.


Factors from gestation and early childhood predict high symptom levels of depression and anxiety at age 10. When gestational exposure, early environmental factors, and child characteristics were considered, maternal depression and socioeconomic status were not significantly associated with early onset D/A. Marijuana exposure during gestation marginally predicted depression/anxiety at age 10.

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