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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2017 Feb;135(2):127-137. doi: 10.1111/acps.12660. Epub 2016 Nov 2.

Can subsyndromal manifestations of major depression be identified in children at risk?

Author information

1
Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD Program, Division of Child Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Children of parents with major depression are at significantly increased risk for developing major depression themselves; however, not all children at genetic risk will develop major depressive disorder (MDD). We investigated the utility of subsyndromal scores on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Anxiety/Depression scale in identifying children at the highest risk for pediatric MDD from among the pool of children of parents with MDD or bipolar disorder.

METHOD:

The sample was derived from two previously conducted longitudinal case-control family studies of psychiatrically and pediatrically referred youth and their families. For this study, probands were stratified based on the presence or absence of a parental mood disorder.

RESULTS:

Subsyndromal scores on the CBCL Anxiety/Depression scale significantly separated the children at high risk for pediatric MDD from those at low risk in a variety of functional areas, including social and academic functioning. Additionally, children at genetic risk without elevated CBCL Anxiety/Depression scale scores were largely indistinguishable from controls.

CONCLUSION:

These results suggest that the CBCL Anxiety/Depression scale can help identify children at highest risk for pediatric MDD. If implemented clinically, this scale would cost-effectively screen children and identify those most in need of early intervention resources to impede the progression of depression.

KEYWORDS:

children; depression; pediatric; subsyndromal

PMID:
27805260
DOI:
10.1111/acps.12660
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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