Bidirectional Influences of Anxiety and Depression in Young Children

John V. Lavigne*, Joyce Hopkins, Karen R. Gouze, Fred B. Bryant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anxiety and depression tend to co-occur in children. Studies indicate that higher levels of anxiety are associated with subsequent higher levels of depression, while depression may inhibit subsequent anxiety. It is important to increase our understanding of the temporal sequencing of these disorders and, particularly, to determine if suppression effects account for the inhibitory association. In addition, further information about these relationships in young children is needed. Participants were a diverse (20.4 % Hispanic, 16.7 % African American; 49.1 % boys) community sample of 796 children with data available at ages 4, 5, and 6–7 years. Anxiety and depression symptoms were assessed using the Child Symptom Inventory and symptom count measures from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Parent Scale -Young Child version. The results indicated: (a) anxiety and depression were relatively stable over time; (b) anxiety at age 4 and 5 was a significant positive predictor of subsequent depression; (c) while an inhibitory effect of depression on subsequent anxiety was found, that inhibitory effect was due to negative suppression, and higher levels of depression were actually associated with subsequent anxiety; (e) consistent with a significant suppression effect, when depression was included as a predictor, the association between anxiety at ages 4 and 5 and anxiety one year later increases in magnitude. Both anxiety and depression are associated with higher levels of one another in the subsequent year. Implications for prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Bidirectional influences
  • Depression
  • Preschoolers
  • Suppression effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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