Early elementary students with symptoms of depression are much more likely to be at risk for academic deficits, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) have found that children who show mild to severe symptoms of depression in second and third grades are six times more likely to have skill deficits, such as difficulties with social skills or academics, than children without symptoms. Parents and teachers also had difficulties recognizing depression in children.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that as many as 2 to 3 percent of children ages 6-12 might have major depressive disorder.

“When you ask teachers and parents to rate a child’s level of depression, there is usually only about 5-10 percent overlap in their ratings. For example, the teacher might report that a child has difficulties making friends in class, but the parent might not notice this issue at home,” says Keith Herman, a professor in the MU College of Education.

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This story originally appeared online on the MU News Bureau.


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