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Asia Pac Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;7(1):91-104. doi: 10.1111/appy.12099. Epub 2013 Sep 8.

Self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms in school-aged Singaporean children.

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Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



Few studies have examined anxiety and depression experiences of primary (middle) school-aged children from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and most have relied on parents or others as informants. The present study aimed to investigate self-reported anxiety and depression symptoms in Singaporean primary school-aged children. Age, gender, and ethnic differences and interactions were explored as well as similarities and differences between Singaporean children and US norms.


A large representative community sample of 1655 8- to 12-year-old Singaporean children (Chinese, Malay, and Indian) completed the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) as part of a larger epidemiological study of mental health in Singaporean children.


Rates of clinically elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression were 9.3% and 16.9% on the MASC and the CDI, respectively. Separation and social anxieties were most common. Evidence of a gender difference in levels of emotional symptoms was most evident in Indian children, with girls reporting more symptoms than boys. The relationship between age and internalizing problems was weak.


A substantial minority of primary school-aged Singaporean children reported elevated anxious and depressive symptoms. Better understanding of the factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of these problems can help the development of culture-specific interventions and facilitate the planning of community-tailored services and initiatives.


anxiety; children; depression; ethnicity; self-report

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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