Difficulty in Focusing Attention in Children Predicts Early Adolescent Depression

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by PsyPost.

A new 4-year longitudinal study of children and their families found inattention, one of the components of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to predict symptoms of depression four years later. The study was published in the Research on Child Adolescent Psychopathology.

A number of factors in children have been suspected to be linked with the early onset of depression. These include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), executive functioning (various psychological functions such as memory, behavior control, capacity for goal-oriented behavior), rumination, and others.

To study the possible links between ADHD and executive functioning with depression, Michelle C. Fenesy and Steve S. Lee conducted a study of 216 children (67% boys) and their families over a four-year period. The study was divided into three waves, i.e., time points when the data were collected from the participants.

At the start of the study, in wave 1, researchers interviewed parents and teachers of children participating in the study to assess the presence of ADHD in children.

Two years later, in the second wave, researchers assessed the academic achievement of children through tests focusing on reading and mathematics skills and by obtaining an assessment of children’s behavior from their teachers.

Two years after wave 2, in the third wave, children, now teenagers, completed a battery of psychological tests assessing the presence of depression symptoms.

The results showed that children who scored high on inattention, one of the key components of ADHD, had higher levels of depression symptoms four years later. This link remained even after accounting for parental education and income.

Source: PsyPost

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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