A research team comprised of members from the Université de Montréal, the Université Laval, McGill University, Carnegie Mellon University and University College Dublin were the first “to show that infant temperament and lifetime maternal depression can lead to a high trajectory of depressive and anxiety problems before school entry,” according to Dr. Côté. The data showed that “difficult” temperament at five months of age was the “most important” predictor for depression and anxiety in the children. The mother’s mental health history was the second most influential factor.
Dr. Côté stressed the urgency in taking preventative action for infants who are at high risk of developing depression and anxiety disorders to have a long-term impact on their well being.
According to this study and as published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, nearly 15% of preschoolers have atypically high levels of depression and anxiety.