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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 548034, 7 pages
Research Article

Depressive Symptoms and Psychosocial Functioning in Preadolescent Children

School of Psychology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia

Received 11 May 2010; Revised 28 December 2010; Accepted 31 January 2011

Academic Editor: Rory O'Connor

Copyright © 2011 Marita McCabe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The current study was designed to determine the percentage of children “at-risk” of depression or evidencing clinical levels of depression. In addition, the study examined how the “at-risk” and the clinical groups differed from children who demonstrated no depressive symptoms on positive and negative affect, four aspects of self-concept, and peer ratings of popularity. Respondents were 510 children (270 boys 240 girls) who ranged in age from 7 to 13 years (mean = 9.39). The results demonstrated that 23% of children were either in the “at-risk” or clinical range of depression. Children in both the clinical and the “at-risk” range demonstrated higher negative affect but lower positive affect and lower self-concepts than children in the normal range. However, children's peers only differentiated between the “clinical” and “normal” groups. It is harder for peers, and other informants such as teachers and parents, to detect the problems of children with elevated depressive symptoms but who do not meet the diagnostic criteria. It is important to implement intervention programs for children who evidence depression symptoms, as well as “at-risk” children. “At-risk” children with elevated levels of depressive symptoms may be more disadvantaged, as their problems are less likely to be detected and treated.