Anxiety and Depression Among Children Essay Example



The researchers conducted a study to try to understand what factors contribute to a child’s anxiety or depression. Although studies have already been conducted correlating anxiety and depression in children with low income and low family status, the authors conduct their research in Leipzig, Germany. Leipzig has high unemployment and is considered a poor area, but according to the inhabitants, is a German city with one of the highest rates of quality of living. The researchers conduct a study to understand if a correlation exists between the factors mentioned, and children’s mental health in Leipzig. 

From 2011 to 2015, the researchers studied 1093 participants in between the ages of 2.5-11.9 years old. This longitudinal study consisted of 519 girls and 574 boys. The research was conducted at LIFE, at the University of Leipzig. Children and their parents go through “interviews, examinations, questionnaires, (and) tests” (321). Participants were then chosen based on their socioeconomic parameters, if they had younger siblings, or if their Patient Health Questionnaire was incomplete. Only the youngest children of families participated in the study, as to not duplicate results.

For emotional problems, the researchers split the children into two groups depending on their histories; the normal group, and the risk group. From there, the participants were given the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Then, the scores were examined with. 0-3 being considered normal, and 4-10 as abnormal. The mothers’ health were studied by using the Patient Health Questionnaire, and the family status determined by asking who the child lived with. For socioeconomic status, the education, occupation, and net income of each parent was asked. Each study used a scale of numbers, which the researchers then plugged the results in to create a multivariate linear regression.

As previous research was conducted, the researchers grew curious as how risk factors affect the town of Leipzig specifically, as it can be considered different from other German towns. The researchers wanted to emphasize how common emotional problems were in such a town and factors that could be contributing to it.

According to the researchers, many studies have been conducted on children’s emotional health. These studies include online surveys conducted by parents, to peer-reviewed academic journal studies. The previous research does show a correlation between emotional problems of children and socioeconomic status, family status, maltreatment, parents mental or physical health, and important life events. A previous study also indicated that children of depressed mothers, tend to have more depressive symptoms themselves. A causation is predicted, that it is because mothers or harsher on their child when they’re depressed, resulting in a hurt mother-child relationship. Of course, causation cannot be identified until an experimental study is conducted. A study of parental reports indicated emotional problems in German children were as common as 14-16.3%.

Due to the wide variety of research already conducted on children’s emotional health and risk factors, the researchers decided to dive deeper into the problem, and look at different scenarios. Because cultures are different all over, the researchers decided to study an area that was thrown in with the other German towns. Because this town had a high quality of life, but high unemployment rate, it was considered different from other German towns. The researchers focused on a few primary factors that seemed to be most prevalent in Leipzig. The goal was to understand how this town’s children react to situations under their specific circumstances.

The researchers expected to find the prevalence rate of emotional health problems in children to be higher in Leipzig than in other German towns. They believed this because of the low economic rates, high unemployment, and being in an urban area. According to a study the researchers used as a source, urban areas tend to have more emotional health problems. This research was based off a survey of twenty different communities. 

Going into the study, the researchers took their previous knowledge of the subject and applied it to their own study. This could cause the researchers conduct tests and use participants that would match with previous results, instead of creating new tests and possibly being found to be invalid. The researchers chose their participants off of specific info that linked them to one of the risky factors. This could be a good thing as it narrowed down the results, but it definitely impacted the research.

Just while reading the abstract I started making assumptions. In class, we have previously talked about how economic and social problems can have an impact on peoples’ lives. However, I did make an assumption while reading about whether we can really classify the children’s reactions as anxiety, depression, or abnormal, or just nervousness and situational sadness. I cannot assume this though, because I don’t know the extent of the questions asked.

The researchers found that 21.13% of the participants would fall under the risk group regarding emotional problems. Children living in a one parent household scored slightly higher on the emotional problems scale than those living with two parents. A correlation was also seen between mothers who scored higher on the depression module and their children in emotional health. No emotional health difference was seen between boys and girls, but higher emotional problems were seen in older children compared to younger ones. The study also showed a higher income correlated with lower emotional problems.

The researchers concluded that the prevalence rate of emotional problems in Leipzig, Germany, is higher than in surrounding areas. They also concluded that maternal health, the SES, and the socioeconomic status were “independently associated with children’s emotional health” (325). However, the net income of the family seemed to have the strongest correlation with children’s emotional health.

If it were possibly, I’d do studies on multiple different countries and see how the children respond to the tests. I also think the community structure should be looked at, and the support they bring to the families and children. Also, a next step could use the experimental method, and test different solutions for mental health problems that stem from the factors in this study.

I believe this research article can have impacts on all of the above professions and the children they look after. Professionals should pay close attention to the socioeconomics of individual families and their children. Because emotional health problems can be serious, medical, education, and criminal justice professionals should help children and their parents receive the care they need. Mental health professionals should evaluate their patients and their concerns and work with the patient to find the best route of healing for the individual.