The development of conduct problems and depressive symptoms in early elementary school children: the role of peer rejection

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2011;40(2):245-53. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2011.546045.


Conduct problems in childhood often co-occur with symptoms of depression. This study explored whether the development of conduct problems becomes indirectly linked to depressive symptoms in a sample of 323 kindergarten children, followed over a period of 2 school years. Results showed that the development of conduct problems was indirectly linked to the development of depressive symptoms via experiences of peer rejection. These links were similar for boys and girls. Results underscore that part of the development of childhood symptoms of depression in the early years of school can be explained by a cascade effect in which the development of conduct problems results into poor peer experiences, which ultimately predict depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conduct Disorder / etiology*
  • Conduct Disorder / psychology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Rejection, Psychology*
  • Schools