The development of depression in children and adolescents

Am Psychol. 1998 Feb;53(2):221-41. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.53.2.221.


In recent decades, research on child and adolescent depression has proliferated. Currently, attention in the field is directed toward examining the epidemiology, causes, course, sequelae, and treatment response of children at risk for developing or presently experiencing depressive disorders. In this article, a developmental psychopathology approach is used to elucidate the development of depressive disorders, the diverse pathways that evolve, and the processes that contribute to varied outcomes. The developmental psychopathology perspective underscores the importance of moving beyond the identification of isolated aberrations in psychological and biological components of depressive presentations to the understanding of how those components have evolved and how they are integrated within and transact across biological, psychological, and social systems. Implications for prevention and intervention are addressed as is the importance of increasing the public awareness of depressive disorders and reducing the social stigma that interfere with the attainment of treatment for depressed persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Depressive Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder* / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder* / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder* / therapy
  • Ego
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Psychological Theory
  • Public Policy
  • Social Environment