Article

Depressive symptoms of children and adolescents in a German representative sample: results of the BELLA study

Senate Department for Health, Environment and Consumer Protection Berlin, Oranienstr. 106, 10969, Berlin, Germany.
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.55). 12/2008; 17 Suppl 1(S1):71-81. DOI: 10.1007/s00787-008-1008-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Europe, a considerable proportion of children and adolescents is affected by depressive symptoms, impairing their everyday life and social functioning.
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the depressive symptoms in children and adolescents in Germany, addressing risk factors, comorbidity, and impact of depressive symptoms on everyday life.
In the BELLA study, the mental health module of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS), a representative sample of young people aged 7-17 years was enrolled. Depressiveness, assessed by the CES-DC, as well as other mental health problems were examined in the context of risk and protective factors.
Depressive symptoms showed high prevalence in parent- and self-reports. Higher depression scores were found in those with a high number of psychosocial risks existing in the family, and they decreased as the number of protective factors the children and adolescents had at their disposal increased. Although only half of the boys and girls with high depression scores were regarded as significantly impaired, all of them had a much higher risk for additional mental health problems. Furthermore, their health-related quality of life was limited compared to their peers who had low depression scores.
To differentiate between clinically significant depression and milder forms, it is necessary to take into account the different perspectives of children and their parents. Prevention and intervention should acknowledge the widespread distribution of depressive symptoms in children and adolescents, the high comorbidity of depressive and other mental health problems and the impact of depression on the aspects of everyday life.

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Available from: Michael Schulte-Markwort, Aug 12, 2015
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    • "Depressive disorders in adolescents are a widespread and increasing problem with extensive psychosocial consequences and high costs for society. Epidemiological studies report prevalence rates of up to 20% (Birmaher et al. 1996; Bettge et al. 2008). Research indicates that even depressive symptoms that do not reach clinical level in adolescents are strongly associated with an increased risk of developing a depressive disorder and other psychopathologies in adulthood (Georgiades et al. 2006; Birmaher et al. 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: AimTo prevent the development and increase of depressive symptoms in adolescents by empowering adolescents to improve their life skills, to foster their realistic thinking, and to influence school behaviour. Subjects and methodsVocational track students in grade 8 from the southwest of Germany participated either in a school-based universal prevention programme or a non-intervention control group (standard curriculum). The cognitive-behavioural programme LARS&LISA includes 10 sessions held in a regular school setting in same-gender groups. The programme is based on the social information-processing model of social competence (Dodge, Annual Review of Psychology 44:559-584, 1993) and consists of five basic elements: (1) formulation and setting of personal goals; (2) relationship between cognitions, emotions and behaviour; (3) exploration and change of dysfunctional cognitions; (4) training of social competence; (5) assertiveness training. ResultsThe programme is extensively evaluated in three studies and has shown positive effects on the participants’ social network, symptoms of depression and aggressive behaviour compared to teaching as usual. ConclusionsWe have demonstrated that the programme can be successfully delivered to students in a higher vocational track of school (Realschule) by psychologists. Currently it is being evaluated in a lower vocational track of school (Hauptschule) by teachers and psychologists. With LARS&LISA we provide a prevention strategy that can be successfully delivered to a school-based population and integrated into classroom curriculum. KeywordsSchool-based prevention–Depression–Adolescents–Cognitive-behavioural programme–Life skills
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