Preschool Depression: a Diagnostic Reality

Meghan Rose Donohue, Diana J. Whalen, Kirsten E. Gilbert, Laura Hennefield, Deanna M. Barch, Joan Luby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: We review findings related to predictors, correlates, outcomes, and treatment of preschool depression that have been published in the last 3 years. Recent Findings: Preschool depression displays a chronic course through late adolescence and is associated with temperamental and personality traits, poorer physical health, and negative parenting practices. Preschool depression predicts deficits into adolescence, including social difficulties and blunted neural response to rewards. Depressed preschoolers can experience suicidal ideation and behaviors and display an accurate understanding of the finality of death. A treatment for preschool depression has now been validated that uses the parent-child relationship to enhance emotion development and reduce depressive symptoms. Summary: Preschool depression is homotypic with depression that occurs later in life. Future work elucidating mechanisms through which preschool depression develops and informs the sub-groups for which particular treatments may be most effective will have considerable implications for prevention and early intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Neurobiology
  • Physical health
  • Preschool depression
  • Review
  • Social functioning
  • Suicidality

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