Get access

Depression and anxiety symptoms: onset, developmental course and risk factors during early childhood

Authors

  • Sylvana M. Côté,

    1. International Laboratory for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Canada and INSERM U669, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michel Boivin,

    1. International Laboratory for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Department of Psychology, Laval University, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Xuecheng Liu,

    1. Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment, International Laboratory for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Development, University of Montreal, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Daniel S. Nagin,

    1. Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz School of Public Policy, Pittsburgh, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mark Zoccolillo,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Richard E. Tremblay

    1. International Laboratory for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Canada and INSERM U669, France
    2. School of Public Health and Population Science, University College, Dublin, Ireland
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.

Sylvana M. Côté, GRIP, University of Montreal, 3050 Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal, Québec H3T 1J7, Canada; Tel: 514-343-6111 ext: 1-2548; Fax: 514-343-6962; Email: sylvana.cote@umontreal.ca

Abstract

Background:  Depressive and anxiety disorders are among the top ten leading causes of disabilities. We know little, however, about the onset, developmental course and early risk factors for depressive and anxiety symptoms (DAS).

Objective:  Model the developmental trajectories of DAS during early childhood and to identify risk factors for atypically high DAS.

Method:  Group-based developmental trajectories of DAS conditional on risk factors were estimated from annual maternal ratings (1½ to 5 years) in a large population sample (= 1759).

Results:  DAS increased substantially in two of the three distinct trajectory groups identified: High-Rising (14.7%); Moderate-Rising (55.4%); and Low (29.9%). Two factors distinguished the High-Rising group from the other two: Difficult temperament at 5 months (High-Rising vs Moderate-Rising: OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.13–1.55; High-Rising vs Low: OR = 1.31, CI = 1.12–1.54) and maternal lifetime major depression (High-Rising vs Moderate-Rising: OR = 1.10; CI = 1.01–1.20; High-Rising vs Low: OR = 1.19; CI = 1.08–1.31). Two factors distinguished the High-Rising group from the Low group: High family dysfunction (OR = 1.24; CI = 1.03–1.5) and Low parental self-efficacy (OR = .71; CI = .54–.94).

Conclusions:  DAS tend to increase in frequency over the first 5 years of life. Atypically high level can be predicted from mother and child characteristics present before 6 months of age. Preventive interventions should be experimented with at risk infants and parents.

Ancillary