Depressive Disorders: Lifespan Perspectives

Depression is widely considered to be a leading cause of disability in Western culture across the lifespan. However, its effect is felt more strongly in certain stages of life than in others. This entry discusses differences in prevalence, symptoms, course, and risk factors across the lifespan, with a particular emphasis on changes across childhood and early adulthood. Furthermore, this entry summarizes leading models of developmental differences in the etiology of depression, and briefly discusses differences in treatment and prevention at each life stage.


Although there are various estimates of the changing prevalence of depressive disorders across the lifespan, common findings indicate that rates are relatively low in childhood, show a dramatic increase during adolescence, and stay relatively constant throughout adulthood, dropping off in mid- to late ...

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