Elämäntapahtumat, perhetekijät ja masennusoireilu 10–12-vuotiailla lapsilla

Tiina Talja

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

Depressive symptoms are a common problem among children and the prevalence has increased in recent years in Finland and worldwide. Different factors can predispose a child to depressive symptoms and they have been found to cause several negative developments in a child's life.

The purpose of this study was to describe and explain how experienced life events, socio-demographic and socio-economic factors, parental depressive symptoms, children’s self-rated health and the interaction within the family are associated with the child's self-rated depressive symptoms. Additionally, the validity and reliability of the School Health Promotion Study’s mood scale was evaluated. The goal of the study was to develop knowledge for the early identification of children’s depressive symptoms for health care professionals in school and primary health care. The information obtained can be used in school health care to develop early identification of depressive symptoms, tools to support children with a higher risk of depression and various family-oriented support measures that support parenting skills. Additionally, the knowledge can aid in development of support services which can be targeted timely. The study deepens understanding of children's depressive symptoms and the complex mechanisms involved.

The data of the study were the responses of the 4th and 5th grade pupils of primary education and their guardians of the 2017 School Health Promotion Study. The pupils evaluated their self-rated depressive mood using a scale formed of six statements of the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ). The scale was named the FsMFQ-6. The validity of the scale was investigated using principal component analysis (PCA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The reliability was assessed by Cronbach's alpha coefficient. The associations between the children's depressive symptoms and the independent variables were evaluated using cross-tabulation and logistic regression analysis in children’s and child-parent-dyads’ data. Associations between life events, family factors and children's depressive symptoms was used to form a preliminary mediation models 1 and 2.

FsMFQ-6 was shown to identify depressive symptoms in 4th and 5th grade pupils. The scale was also internally consistent (Cronbach's alpha was 0.73). In children’s data, all examined and accumulated life events, all assessed family factors and the child's foreign background were associated with depressive symptoms when the association of variables with children's depressive symptoms was investigated one by one. The adjustment of the effects of sociodemographic background factors did not change the result. All examined life events and the accumulation of life events were still associated with children's depressive symptoms. In the data of child-parent- dyads, other family structure than the intact family, other response options than child’s very good self-rated health, the child's foreign background, parental depressive symptoms, family’s moderate or worse financial situation, interaction difficulties within the family, and the accumulation of life events were associated with the children's depressive symptoms. When associations between children's depressive symptoms and variables were examined in the same model, the family structure, the family's financial situation and the parental depressive symptoms were no longer statistically significant. The largest odds ratios were between interaction within the family and children's depressive symptoms and the child's self-rated health and children's depressive symptoms. The mediation analyses produced preliminary models 1 and 2 where the accumulation of life events, interaction difficulties within the family, other response options than the child’s very good self-rated health and child’s foreign background were directly associated with children's depressive symptoms. In mediation model 2, the parent's depressive symptoms were directly associated with children's depressive symptoms. The accumulation of life events, other response options than the child’s very good self-rated health, other family structures than intact family, family’s moderate or worse financial situation and parental depressive symptoms were associated with children's depressive symptoms through the interaction within the family, so the associations were indirect.

This study shows that experienced life events, family factors and socio-demographic background factors are associated with children's depressive symptoms through complex mechanisms. The interaction between the child and the parent seems to be a key mediated factor between the child's depressive symptoms and predisposed factors. Further research with different design is needed to find out the causal link relationships between children's depressive symptoms and the factors associated to them. In addition, it is important to study the effectiveness of various support measures and interventions aimed at children and their parents.
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic) 978-952-03-2935-8
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
Volume815
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028

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