Do Toddlers Get Depressed?

sad childCan toddlers be clinically depressed?I'm sorry, but this one's a little hard to accept: Depressed two-year-olds? What are they depressed about? The economy? The end of breast-feeding? Bad day care?

In any case, here's The New York Times Magazine raising the issue of whether some moody preschoolers, ages 2-5, are actually clinically depressed.

Today a number of child psychiatrists and developmental psychologists say depression can surface in children as young as 2 or 3. “The idea is very threatening,” says Joan Luby, a professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, who gave Kiran his diagnosis and whose research on preschool depression has often met with resistance. “In my 20 years of research, it’s been slowly eroding,” Luby says of that resistance. “But some hard-core scientists still brush the idea off as mushy or psychobabble, and laypeople think the idea is ridiculous.”

This program aired on August 26, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Rachel Zimmerman

Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



More from WBUR

Listen Live