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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

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 03, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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