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Mild and severe childhood depression: differences and implications for prevention programs in the school setting

Authors Bernaras E, Garaigordobil M, Jaureguizar J, Soroa M

Received 15 August 2018

Accepted for publication 3 October 2018

Published 12 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 581—588


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Einar Thorsteinsson

Elena Bernaras,1 Maite Garaigordobil,2 Joana Jaureguizar,3 Marian Soroa1

1Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, Philosophy and Anthropology, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián, Spain; 2Department of Personality, Assessment and Psychological Treatments, Faculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain; 3Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education of Bilbao, University of the Basque Country, Lejona, Spain

Purpose: The study had two goals as follows: 1) to identify the prevalence of children with mild and severe depression (MD and SD), exploring sex differences; and 2) to determine possible significant differences in adaptive and clinical variables between children with different levels of depression (absence of depression, MD, and SD).
Materials and methods: We used a sample of 420 participants aged 7–10 years (53.3% boys) enrolled in third and fourth grade of primary education, from schools in the Basque Country (Spain). The Children’s Depression Scale (CDS, self-assessment) was administered as well as six more assessment instruments.
Results: It was found that 84.2% of children had no depression, 10% had MD, and 5.8% had SD. Compared with children with depressive symptoms, participants without depression had significantly: 1) lower levels of maladjustment, stress, emotional symptoms, internalizing problems, and behavioral problems; and 2) higher levels of personal adjustment, resilience, social skills, and self-concept. In addition, children with MD had significantly lower levels of clinical maladjustment, emotional symptoms, and stress than children with SD. However, no differences were found in school maladjustment, internalizing problems, behavioral problems, personal adjustment, resilience, social skills, and self-concept between children with MD and SD.
Conclusion: The discussion emphasizes the importance of identifying children with MD and implementing universal prevention programs from an early age.

Keywords: clinical maladjustment, school maladjustment, social skills, self-concept, resilience, stress

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