The prevalence of depression in primary school children and the factors that contribute to depression.
The study investigated the concept of childhood depression principally in primary school preadolescent children. While there is a plethora of literature on adult depression, and a wealth of research studies on adolescent depression, there seems to be a dearth of research studies on preadolescent childhood depression. The researcher has also observed as an educator that with an increase of the incidence of child abuse, there was a concurrent increase of children with depressive symptoms in the classroom . The findings of this study will hopefully add to the available literature on childhood depression and assist in some way towards ameliorating the status quo in childhood depression. The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of depression among preadolescent primary school children and to investigate the factors from home and school that may contribute to depression. Respondents completed the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) and a specially developed Questionnaire. The findings from both the CDI and the Questionnaire were compared with relevant research studies. The results of the study indicated that 10.3 % of the respondents were depressed. These results were similar to the findings of other studies with similar populations. The findings partially supported the inference that major depression begins in adolescence. The factors at home that were problematic were the relationship with parents and relationship with siblings. Generally the respondents were satisfied with matters at school with the exception of their relationship with their teachers. Although most of the respondents seemed to enjoy good peer relationships and seemed to enjoy being at school, there were some negative aspects in the pupil -teacher relationship which are explored in more detail in the study. Some recommendations were made to the school personnel as well as to parents. One very important implication that surfaced from the study is that schools should employ counsellors or psychologists who are well trained in children's problems to help and heal distressed children. It is hoped that this study raises the awareness of childhood depression and reflects the importance of early intervention and prevention programmes.