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Kids' truancy attributed to "depression"


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Moving closer to punishing uncooperative conduct in children with psychiatric drugs, here's another instance of psychiatric reductionism, as though "depression" in kids has no situational cause, such as hating school or having social or family problems.


I assume "preventive intervention" will lead to the recommendation of antidepressants for truants as the underlying issues would require more resources to treat.


Truancy Signals Depression in Kids


By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today December 22, 2011


Middle school students with absenteeism in one year were more likely to have depression and conduct problems the next year independent of other factors in an analysis of longitudinal studies by Jeffrey Wood, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues.


But during middle and high school, having depression and conduct problems in one year also independently predicted absenteeism the next, the group reported online in Child Development.


"These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that these two aspects of youth adjustment may at times exacerbate one another, leading over the course of time to more of each," Wood's group noted in the paper.


For example, depression can promote missed days through lack of energy and interest, while missing a lot of school can lead to academic failure and social isolation that leads to or worsens depression, they explained.


"Absenteeism could be a useful target for preventive intervention if it indeed plays a contributing role in the development of psychological problems," the researchers suggested.


They analysed three regionally or nationally representative school-based longitudinal studies that followed children's attendance, mental health, and other characteristics once or twice each school year....


During any given year, missing more school was associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety, as well as conduct problems.


In the Add Health study, more absenteeism at the first assessment was associated with higher reported anxiety and depression at the next follow-up in middle school (P<0.001).


Conversely, more anxiety and depression at one assessment predicted more absenteeism at the next in both middle and high school in that study (P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively).


The same pattern for significant associations was seen with conduct problems in the Add Health study.


In the two elementary cohort studies, the associations were inconsistent and seldom significant until the children reached middle and high school ages.


"Of note, no predicted absenteeism-to-psychopathology longitudinal paths were conventionally significant below the 5th to 6th grade time period," the researchers wrote.


The teenage years may bring hormonal changes, less monitoring by parents, and more independence and peer influence, they pointed out.


The reason for some relationships in middle school not found in high school may be that early absenteeism predicts dropping out of school, they suggested.


The evidence also tended to be stronger for depression, anxiety, and conduct problems to predict absenteeism than the other way around, they added.


While the relationships varied from cohort to cohort, "there was at least some support in each dataset that a higher level of one of these factors in one year tended to presage the onset of increases in the other factor in the following year, over and above autoregressive associations and covariation with demographic variables," the group explained.


They cautioned that their analysis was limited by methodological differences between the studies and self-reporting by the students in the Add Health study.



The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. No author disclosures were provided.


Primary source: Child Development

Source reference:

Wood JJ, et al "School attendance problems and youth psychopathology: structural cross-lagged regression models in three longitudinal datasets" Child Dev 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01677.x.



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Perhaps the conduct disorders and absenteeism are due to boredom and lack of challenge in our dumbed down No Child Left Behind system /

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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