Youngest children in a school year have 30% more chance of depression

The youngest children in their school year run a higher risk of psychological problems, research suggests.


Scientists analyzed the GP records of more than one million children from the UK.

They discovered that the students who were the youngest in their year group were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed by the time they turned 16.

The young people were also 36 percent more likely to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 30 percent more likely to have an intellectual disability & # 39 ;.

The scientists noted that children in the same school year can keep each other apart for around 12 months.

Younger children may find it harder to concentrate, understand what they are taught, or maintain friendships with their older peers, she added.

The youngest children in their school year can suffer more from psychological problems (stock)


The youngest children in their school year can suffer more from psychological problems (stock)

The research was conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

& # 39; We have known for a while that children who are young in their school year have hyperactivity disorders and perform less academically than older children, & # 39; said lead author Jeremy Brown.

& # 39; However, we believe this is the first evidence of a relationship between younger relative age in the school year and an increase in the diagnosis of depression.

The scientists analyzed the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, an electronic database for primary health care for more than 700 general practitioners clinics.


Signs of depression in children can be:

  • Long-term sadness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Insomnia or too much sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • indecision
  • Lack of trust
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Inability to relax
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Numb for emotions
  • Thoughts about suicide or self-harm
  • Self-damaging

Some also have physical symptoms such as headache or abdominal pain.


Older children can abuse alcohol or drugs.

Depression in children can occur as a result of family problems, bullying, other psychological problems or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

It can be triggered by one event, such as a mourning or an accumulation of things.

If you suspect your child is depressed, try to talk to him about how he feels.

Let them know that you are worried and that you are there when they need you.


If they don't want to talk to you, encourage them to contact another family member, teacher, or family friend.

If this does not help, contact your doctor, who may refer your child to a mental health specialist.

Source: NHS

They divided the 1.04 million school-going patients into four categories based on their age within their year.

Results – published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal – revealed that the youngest quartile was about 30 percent more likely to develop depression than the oldest quartile.


This remained true after correction for factors such as socio-economic status and gender. No difference in risk was found between boys and girls.

To put the results in the right context, around 800,000 children attend primary school in the UK every year.

The scientists predict that about 500 more of the youngest in the year can be diagnosed with depression compared to the oldest (2,200 versus 1,700), during the course of their education up to 16 years of age.

The scientists also discovered that ADHD is more common in children under 10 years of age.

Their research did not want to reveal why young children are more at risk for these disorders.


However, they note that & # 39; relative immunity & # 39; compared to their older peers, hyperactivity may suggest.

Academic performance and depression are also linked.

And & # 39; relative youth & # 39; can lead to & # 39; poorer relationships with peers & # 39 ;, which can cause depression.

The scientists emphasize that the total number of children diagnosed with depression remains low.

However, they hope that their research will encourage more research into the causes of depression among school children and how this can be prevented.

"Only one percent of the youngest quartile in a school year will be diagnosed with depression at the age of 16, and luckily there is an increasing awareness about mental health as a priority," said senior author Professor Ian Douglas.

& # 39; Better recognition of this if a problem can help. Support is now available through NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, but further improvement in the availability of support within the school and health systems can also solve this problem.

& # 39; Further research into the specific causes and interventions is required, and to see if the depression persists in young adulthood. & # 39;

The scientists noted that some countries allow parents of relatively young children to postpone their schooling for a year.

& # 39; A fairer and clearer process for parents to request postponement of school admission if their child is young for their school year and shows signs of slower development can also help & # 39 ;, said Professor Douglas.


However, the team noted that this is a & # 39; differential inclusion according to socio-economic status & # 39; can have, which can lead to & # 39; inequality & # 39 ;.

& # 39; Capacity testing & # 39; might therefore be a better alternative, she added.

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