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Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2008 Jun;30(2):124-31.

Comparison of demographic and clinical characteristics between children and adolescents with major depressive disorder.

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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service, Department & Institute of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.



To compare clinical characteristics of major depressive disorder symptoms between children and adolescents.


The subjects were 58 patients of a Child and Adolescent Affective Disorder Clinic consecutively admitted during a six-month period. Children aged 5-9 years old and adolescents from 10-17 years old currently meeting DSM-IV criteria diagnosis of major depressive disorder were chosen. Current MDD diagnosis and depressive psychopathology were assessed by a clinical interview and the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents-DSM-IV version. The Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised Version and the Children Global Assessment Scale rated the severity and global functioning of major depressive disorder.


The most common depressive symptoms were: anhedonia (72.4%), depressed mood (72.4%), decreased concentration (62.1%), and irritability (58.6%). The intensity of depressive episodes of this sample ranged from mild to moderate. Fifty percent reported thoughts of death, and 29.3% presented a variety of psychotic symptoms. When compared with children, adolescents reported a significantly more depressed mood (p = 0.043), lower self-esteem (p = 0.002), and had more difficulty concentrating (p = 0.020). Female adolescents had lower self-esteem (p = 0.003), and male adolescents showed more decreased concentration (p = 0.016).


This study suggests that age and gender differences might influence the clinical presentation of major depressive disorder in children and adolescents. Further studies with larger samples are needed.

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