Depression in Children and Teens - What Increases Your Risk

Several things increase a young person's chance of developing depression. These include:

  • Having a parent or immediate family member who is depressed. This is the most important risk factor for depression. Children or teens who have a parent with depression are up to 3 times more likely to develop depression.
  • Having been depressed before, especially if depression first occurred at an early age.
  • Having a long-term medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy.
  • Having another mental disorder, such as conduct disorder or an anxiety disorder.
  • Having a family member or close friend die.
  • Being physically or sexually abused.
  • Having problems with alcohol or drug abuse.

Other risk factors for depression include:

  • Being a girl in early puberty. Until puberty, boys and girls have an equal risk for depression. After puberty and as adults, females are twice as likely as males to become depressed.
  • Being exposed to repeated family conflict.
  • Not having good social relationships with peers.
  • Being a bully or a victim of bullying.4
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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