Depression more common among Pacific kids

3News 7 March 2014
A new study has found relatively high levels of depression among Pacific Island children in New Zealand, particularly bullies and their victims.

The Pacific Islands Families Study, published in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal, found 7 percent of nine-year-old Pacific children showed depressive symptoms compared with 1 to 3 percent prevalence generally in children.

Depression was also associated with internalising behaviour problems and low maternal education, with better educated mothers more likely to recognise depressive symptoms and embrace health services.

Low depression scores among the 858 children surveyed were linked with their positive self-perception, physical abilities, parental and peer relationships, high verbal intelligence and high performance at school.

“Child depression manifests as feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, agitation and guilt, and is a debilitating problem than can significantly impair social and school functioning,” the study authors said.