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Running Head: Depression and Anxiety in Children 1

The Correlation Between Depression and Anxiety in Children

Peyton M. Mobbs

Oklahoma State University

Depression and Anxiety in Children 2

Numerous studies have been made on the correlation between depression and anxiety in

children. I chose the topic of depression and anxiety in children because I have seen first hand

how they have both affected children and their performance in the classroom compared to

children that don’t suffer from anxiety and depression. I went to school with a friend who was a

good student until 7th grade. I began to notice her interests changing and eventually her desire to

succeed in the classroom changed. She seemed tired all the time and her grades were dropping.

Her personality changed slowly and she was not excited about the things she once was. As a

middle school student, I was clueless to what was happening. I had no idea what the signs of

anxiety were. I had never been taught the symptoms of depression in children. Later on in high

school, I learned that she began suffering from anxiety in 6th grade. Those symptoms led to

depression and her personality was altered because of the mood disorder. As a college student, I

have an interest in anxiety and depression because of my friend and because of all the articles I

read on college students suffering from depression and anxiety. Students in college sometimes

get anxiety or depression from moving out or away from family. If students were informed at a

younger age, they may be able to adapt to the new responsibilities and life-style when moving

out of the house for the first time.

The article “Relations Between Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Children: A

Multitrait-Multimethod-Multigroup Assessment” correlates my first-hand experience with facts.

The article used four separate methods to assess the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The

scientists used self-reports, peer nominations, teacher ratings, and parent reports. In the study

they didn’t use formal or clinical evaluations because of the large amount of children who were a

part of the study. Children with either depression or anxiety usually suffer from both issues. The

correlations are a true comparison of depression and anxiety. Even though there are many
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differences, some of the factors overlap (Cole, Truglio, & Peeke, 1997). For example, the

answers of some of the questions will be very similar to each other. From the previous research,

it is hypothesized that there will be a correlation between depression and anxiety in children.

Anxiety is a feeling that is unpleasant and has intense or excessive worry about everyday things

happening (Akiskal, 1998). This disorder is characterized by an uneasiness and/or panic attacks.

Anxiety affects how we feel and behave. Anxiety can even sometimes change into a physical

sign. Most people are familiar with anxiety at some period in their life. Depression is a disorder

that is distinguished by mood and the lack of want to participate in activities (Lorr, Sonn, &

Katz, 1967). Not a lot of people suffer from this mood disorder.

The children will complete a self-report form to report on depression and anxiety levels

by doing sentence completion, questionnaires, rating scales and even drawings. The psychologist

can determine if they have the diagnosis and the severity of their being. One drawback to the

self-report questionnaire would be that children might not answer the questions truthfully. The

children could be faking good or bad feelings in their questionnaire. When children answer with

perfect scores the psychologist then can report on this. The child answered that they were perfect

and had no concerns can often be an indication that the child is reporting false feelings. Self-

reporting questionnaires are a quick and easy way to get data. Also, self-reporting questionnaires

are easy to replicate. Other forms may take more time, but it is beneficial to have multiple

assessment tools for more accurate reporting.

A person will be able to infer causation between the two variables: depression and

anxiety. A person can infer causation because most children with depression also have anxiety

and vice versa. The third variable that could be present is stress. Stress is associated with

depression. Living in a dysfunctional home could cause more stress, anxiety, and depression.
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Anxiety and depression go hand in hand (Cole, Truglio, & Peeke, 1997). It is rare for a

child to experience anxiety without depression because of the side effects. Anxiety can cause

difficulty in sleeping, a change in grades, a change in eating habits and a feeling of

worthlessness. When a child continually suffers from lack of sleep or a change in eating habits,

the results eventually usually lead to depression. Even though it is hard for a professional to

determine what is anxiety and what is depression in adolescents, the symptoms will dictate what

the child is suffering from.

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Akiskal, H. S. (1998). Toward a definition of generalized anxiety disorder as an anxious

temperament type. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 98(s393), 66-73.

Cole, D. A., Truglio, R., & Peeke, L. (1997). Relation between symptoms of anxiety and

depression in children: A multitrait-multimethod-multigroup assessment. Journal Of

Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 65(1), 110-119. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.65.1.110

Lorr, M., Sonn, T. M., & Katz, M. M. (1967). Toward a definition of depression. Archives of

general psychiatry, 17(2), 183-186.