A new study has revealed some pretty astounding information about children and depression, linking the time of year that they were born to suffering from childhood depression. So if you have a child who was born in the summertime, you're going to want to pay attention.
The research is called Association of Relative Age in the School Year With Diagnosis of Intellectual Disability, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Depression, is was published recently in JAMA Pediatrics, and led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
According to the Telegraph, the research was conducted through electronic GP records from a sampling of one million school-aged children in the UK. They found that children born in the last three months of the school year were prone to being 30% more likely to develop depression compared to those born in the first three months.
In the UK, about 800,00 students start primary school each year, predicting based on the research that 500 more of the youngest in the year might be diagnosed with depression compared with the oldest (2,200 v 1,700) - covering schooling up to sixteen years.
While scientists have revealed that the diagnoses of childhood depression still remains low, that these findings proved that there is more research needed to be done in order to help prevent it from happening.
Dr Joseph Hayes, co-author of the study and clinical research fellow consultant, at University College London, said: “It makes sense that as a child, if you’re comparing yourself to someone a year older, even something as simple as kicking a football - the difference in size between a four-year-old and a five-year-old is stark, so it’s most likely similar for mental development. Teachers also have expectations of certain behaviors.”
He added: “If you look at the UK curriculum compared to other countries, it becomes academic very early on, maybe there should be more of a focus on socialisation and play time for children which would be better for them.
“It might be hard to make this structural change, but teachers need to be aware that these things have an impact and should pay particular attention to the young ones and to encourage group work so that they don’t feel so different to their peers.
“Any child having difficulty you would hope would be picked up on by teachers anyway, but there are probably interventions like this that would have an impact.”