Socially isolated children may turn into depressed adults

By Staff Writer

Children who lack friends may be at significantly greater risk of developing depression later in life, according to a new study published in the journal Development and Psychopathology. The findings underscore for parents the importance of seeking help from rehab facilities if they feel their child is becoming isolated.

Growing up, most people go to school with a handful of children who get left out of activities and social circles. While this may be a normal part of childhood, the long-term effects of this problem have not been studied.

For the study, researchers surveyed a group of fifth grade girls and boys. They asked the participants about their social interactions and how these encounters made them feel. The investigators found that children who had more friends were less likely to show symptoms of depression.

The researchers said that the types of symptoms they observed in socially isolated youth are likely not limited to adolescence. They said that these problems have a way of “snowballing,” which could leave them at a greater risk of developing severe depression later in life.