Last updated: August 13, 2019
Topic: EducationSchool
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Bilginer and Kandil (2016) examined the differences in emotional and
behavioral issues in children who had been diagnosed with major depression and
children who did not have any chronic medical or psychiatric diagnoses.  Forty-two children admitted to an outpatient
psychiatric clinic between ages seven and twelve who had a diagnosis of major
depression were selected as the study group (Bilginer & Kandil, 2016).  Forty-two additional children matched for age
and gender participated in the study as the control group from other
departments of the clinic, and both sets of children were interviewed with the
Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia in School Aged Children,
Present and Lifetime version, given the Child Depression Inventory, and their
mothers completed the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 (Bilginer &
Kandil, 2016).

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The results found that children diagnosed with major depression had
significantly more behavioral and emotional problems than their peers who did
not have a psychiatric diagnosis (Bilginer & Kandil, 2016).  Self-harm was found to be strongly related to
externalizing behavior such as rule-breaking and aggression, but not associated
with severity of depression or suicidal ideation, while suicidal ideation was
associated with higher scores on the Child Depression Inventory (Bilginer &
Kandil, 2016).


The results
illustrate the behavioral and emotional needs of children diagnosed with a
chronic psychiatric disorder.  These
children require more focus and consideration than their healthy peers, and
this research can lead into further research on emotional expression for those
children who externalize their pain through self-harm, rule-breaking, or
aggression.  Further research may also
examine the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation in children
more thoroughly in order to make it easier for clinicians, parents, teachers,
and others who have regular contact with children to spot warning signs and
guide them in what to do in a situation where they have a depressed child in
their care after the proper reporting procedures are followed. These children
will inevitably return to the classroom or home but that does not mean the
illness is gone.  Future research may be
able to provide teachers and parents with guidance on how to bring the child
back into their everyday routine without pushing their diagnosis to the side
for the sake of normalcy.

Personal Perspective

While this article seems elementary at first glance, the findings open
many paths to further research.  This
reading may be beneficial to individuals who are not very familiar with
depression in children as a means to gain knowledge and encourage further
research.  In the author’s opinion, parents
would greatly benefit from reading this article if they are unfamiliar with depression
or simply want a starting point after their child is diagnosed with depression.
 This may also be useful for parents who have
not yet received a professional diagnosis for their child but think they may have
a child with depression.  The section of
the article that discusses the relationship between self-harm and other types
of externalizing behavior and depression is particularly interesting.  At the very least, this means that the child is
trying to express their pain and can be a starting point to find constructive ways
to do that.