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Clinical characteristics of depressed youths in child psychiatry.

[Article in English, French]

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Research Service, Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital & Fernand-Seguin Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec.



To describe the clinical characteristics of depressed children and adolescents according to age groups and sex.


A retrospective chart review study was conducted on 75 youths aged 6-17 years referred for depressive disorders to child psychiatry in 2002-2003. Descriptive statistics and tests of association were completed to compare boys aged 6-11 years, boys aged 12-17 years and girls aged 12-17 years.


One out of two youths has repeated a school year. About 60% of depressed boys aged 6-11 years are referred to child psychiatry services for behavioral difficulties and 71% of boys in this age group have a depressive disorder comorbid with disruptive behavior disorder. Adolescent boys and girls are more likely to present internalized symptoms than children. However, suicidal ideation is as widespread in children (71%) as in adolescent population, both boys (72%) and girls (85%). Parent-child relational problems are observed in the majority of the sample with a higher prevalence among adolescent girls.


: It is as important to assess depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among young boys with behavioral difficulties as in adolescent boys and girls. Family functioning is important to consider in evaluating and treating youth.


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