Childhood anxiety and depressive symptoms: trajectories, relationship, and association with subsequent depression

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Snyder, James J.
Bullard, Lisha Marie
Wagener, Alexandra L.
Leong, Pek Kuan
Snyder, John
Jenkins, Melissa

Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53. 2009 Nov; 38(6): 837-49.


The development of child anxiety and depressive symptoms from mean ages 5.3 to 9.3 years was examined in a community sample of 133 girls and 134 boys, using parent and teacher ratings. Reliable individual differences in anxiety and depressive symptoms at mean age 5.3 and in their change to mean age 9.3 were observed, with significant correlations between depressive and anxiety symptoms at mean age 5.3 years and between their changes with age. Positive cross-lagged correlations from anxiety to depressive symptoms and negative cross-lagged correlations from depressive to anxiety symptoms were apparent in teachers' ratings at 6- to 12-month intervals. Developmental changes in teacher-rated child anxiety symptoms were robust predictors of child self-reported depressive symptoms at mean age 9.3 years. These results suggest assessment and interventions for emotional problems may be usefully implemented during childhood in school and peer social environments.

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