One in four girls depressed at age 14
New research out of London found that 24 percent of girls and 9 percent of boys at age 14 suffer from depression.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool and University College London analyzed information on more than 10,000 children who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study.
At ages 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14, parents reported on their children's mental health. Then, when they reached 14, the children were themselves asked questions about their depressive symptoms.
The research, published with the National Children's Bureau, also investigated links between depressive symptoms and family income. Generally, 14-year-olds from better-off families were less likely to have high levels of depressive symptoms compared to their peers from poorer homes.
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PROBLEMS RISE FOR TEEN GIRLS
Parents' reports of emotional problems were roughly the same for boys and girls throughout childhood, increasing from 7 percent of children at age 7 to 12 percent at age 11.
However, by the time they reached early adolescence at age 14, emotional problems became more prevalent in girls, with 18 percent having symptoms of depression and anxiety, compared to 12 percent of boys.
Behavior problems, such as acting out, fighting and being rebellious decreased from infancy to age 5, but then increased to age 14. Boys were more likely than girls to have behavior problems throughout childhood and early adolescence.
As 14-year-olds' own reports of their emotional problems were different to their parents', this research highlights the importance of considering young people's views on their own mental health.
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