The risk for anxiety among depressed teens

A new study from Southern Methodist University has identified risk factors that, when combined with depression, increase an adolescent’s risk for anxiety.

These include:

  • Having a pessimistic outlook toward events and circumstances in their lives
  • Having a mother with a history of an anxiety disorder
  • Having the perception of a poor family relationship

The study spanned six years and included data from 240 children in city public schools and their mothers. All were assessed annually, beginning when the children were in sixth grade.

Based on these findings, the authors encourage early prevention efforts for depressed children who also have one of the three risk factors identified. 

Author Chrystyna D. Kouros said in a press release from SMU:

“Age 10 to age 16 is a key developmental period, because around puberty is when we tend to see depression rates in children rise, especially among girls,” Kouros said. “The findings from this study can help adults who work with depressed youth to target those who are most at risk for developing anxiety too.”

The study, “Dynamic temporal relations between anxious and depressive symptoms across adolescence,” appeared in the journal Development and Psychopathology.