Parent-child therapy can help young children with depression, according to a research.
The Washington University School of Medicine study demonstrates that an interactive therapy involving parents and their depressed children can reduce rates of depression and lower the severity of children's symptoms.
"By identifying depression as early as possible and then helping children try to change the way they process their emotions, we believe it may be possible to change the trajectory of depression and perhaps reduce or prevent recurrent bouts of the disorder later in life," said principal investigator Joan L. Luby.
"We consider depression to be an impairment of the ability to experience and regulate emotions," said Luby.
"For example, we coach parents how to manage a child's emotional responses to stressful situations," Luby said.
Interestingly, the researchers also found that symptoms of clinical depression improved in the parents who worked with their children during the study.
"Even without targeting the parent directly, if a parent has been depressed, his or her depression improves," Luby said. "It previously had been demonstrated that if you treat a parent's depression, a child's depression improves, but this is powerful new data suggesting that the reverse also is true."
Luby added that the therapy program doesn't require a psychiatrist and can be delivered by master's degree-level clinicians.
The findings are published in The American Journal of Psychiatry....