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Depression in children

Kapornai, Krisztina; Vetró, Ágnes

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 1–7
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3282f25b01
Mood disorders: Edited by Cornelius Katona and Gregory E. Simon

Purpose of review This summary of literature published during the past year focuses on research into factors that may contribute to development of childhood-onset depression and on appropriate assessment and treatment.

Recent findings The recent literature suggests that investigating risk factors and gene–environment interactions could be fruitful in elucidating the aetiology of childhood-onset depression and could have implications for developing preventive (selective or targeted programmes) and therapeutic strategies. These strategies clearly should involve interventions to improve parent–child relationships and parenting style, especially in children at high risk early in their lives. Cognitive–behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and (in the case of severe depression) selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (fluoxetine as the first-line option, with close monitoring for adverse effects during treatment) appear to be effective in the management of depression in children. However, recent reports on psychotherapies yield a less clear picture about their effectiveness in childhood depression than was previously indicated.

Summary Controlled trial data and evidence-based guidelines for management of depressed children are limited with respect to pharmacological and psychotherapeutic options, especially in prepubertal and preschool children. Further research in this area is therefore warranted.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary

Correspondence to Krisztina Kapornai, MD, Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Gyermek és Ifjúságpszichiátriai Osztály, SZEGED, Semmelweis u. 6.6725 Hungary E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.