Childhood Depression as Emerging Public Health Problem: a Systematic Review


  • João Vitor Cândido Pimentel
  • Cícero Roberto Pinheiro Grangeiro Júnior
  • Antonio Gilvan Teixeira Júnior
  • Matheus Felipe Aguiar Santos
  • Camilla Barros Meireles
  • Laís Chaves Maia
  • Victoria Aline Linhares Miná
  • Paula Pessoa Pinheiro
  • Marcos Aurélio Moreira Pereira
  • Ângelo Roncalli Ramalho Sampaio
  • Thércia Lucena Granjeiro Maranhão
  • Janaina Batista Pereira
  • Pedro Ivo Martins Cidade
  • Alberto Olavo Advincula Reis
  • Modesto Leite Rolim Neto
  • Vânia Barbosa do Nascimento



Depression, Child, Childhood Depression, Mental Health Disorders


As an important problem of public health, the childhood depression deserves special attention, in which the serious and long term consequences of the disease weigh to the childhood development. Taking this in consideration, the present study was based in the following research question: which practical contribution the actual scientific literature about childhood depression has to offer to clinicians and researchers? The aim of the present study was to evaluate the actual evidence concerning the different aspects (etiology/risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, prognostic and prevention) of childhood depression, with the purpose to systematize such evidences and to contribute with the knowledge about the problem. In way to reach this aim, it was performed a systematic review of articles about childhood depression, in the period from January first of 2010 to January 16 of 2014, in the databases PubMED, MEDLINE and SciELO. In the research, the following terms were used: “depression†(MeSH), “child†(MeSH) and “childhood depression†(Keyword). Of the 860 found studies, 76 met the eligibility criteria. The found studies covered a wide variety of aspects related to childhood depression, as diagnosis, treatment, prevention and prognostic. The actual scientific literature about the childhood depression converges to, directly or not, highlight the negative impacts of the depression disorders to the life quality of the children. Unfortunately, the found studies show that the childhood depression is a disorder that develops most commonly in a poverty and vulnerability scenery, where the individual and familiar necessities concerning
the childhood depression are not always taken in consideration. In this context, this review demonstrates that the depression started in the childhood commonly leads to others psychiatric disturbs and comorbidities.Many of the found studies also confirmed the hypothesis that the human element involved in the care, especially the health professionals’ team, is still not adequately capacitated to deal with the childhood depression. In this way, additional researches focusing the development of programs destined to prepare health professionals to treat childhood depression are necessary, plus to complementary studies, with bigger and more homogeneous samples, centered in the prevention and in the treatment of childhood depression.






Psychiatry & Mental Health

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