Depression pp 173-184 | Cite as

Affective Disorders in Children and Adolescents with Special Emphasis on Depression

  • E. James Anthony


That fantastic great old scholar of the seventeenth century, Robert Burton (who could rightly claim to be the first psychopathologist), set it down in Part I, Section III, Subsection IV, of his Anatomy of Melancholy 1 that maids, virgins, nuns, barren women, and widows were especially prone to insomnia, troublesome sleep, dejection of mind, discontent, weariness, grieving, and weeping “without any manifest cause.” As matters are developing today, we might very well have needed to add children to his list of vulnerable individuals or, at any rate, if we are to maintain his sex bias, little girls. He would have been a little surprised that contemporary men also frequently succumb to this “brutish kind of dotage” from the effects, presumably, of “black bile” (or its modern neurochemical equivalent). At that time, children were not supposed to suffer from anything but mental deficiency, and it is only in the past century that they were deemed capable of developing psychopathology and only in the last couple of decades that they were judged to be depressed. It seems that as adults became more aware of children as individuals, they also became aware of the wide range of affective disorders that they could manifest. A worldwide interest has developed in childhood depression with three points of view predominating: that it did not exist except in the minds of certain overly sensitive clinicians who detected such affects in almost every patient; that it existed in different forms throughout childhood; and, finally, that it was a plausible hypothesis to be tested open-mindedly. Before one tested this hypothesis, it seemed important to define and limit the concept and thus not render it too inclusive. The need to look for it is critical to the prospect of finding it. Malmquist2 reported that, although child patients may both look and behave in a depressed way, the diagnosis of depression is rarely entertained. One reason for this is that the diagnosis has often been omitted from standard psychiatric classifications. Thus, Malmquist has, himself, proposed a detailed classification for childhood depressions.


Affective Disorder Depressive Affect Childhood Depression Depressive Response Dispositional Factor 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Burton R: The Anatomy of Melancholy. New York, Farrar and Rinehart, 1927.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Malmquist C: Depressions in Childhood and Adolescence. Part I. New Engl. J. Med. 284: 887–893, 1971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Conners CK: Discussion. In: Schutterbrandt J, Raskin A (eds) Depression in Childhood: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Conceptual Models. New York, Raven Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bibring E: The mechanism of depression. In: Greenacre P (ed) Affective Disorders. New York, International Universities Press, 1953.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anthony EJ: Influence of a manic-depressive environment on the child. In: Anthony EJ, Benedek T (eds) Depression and Human Existence. Boston, Little, Brown, 1975.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bell Q: Virginia Woolf. New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1972.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Klein M: A contribution to the psychogenesis of manic-depressive states. In: Contributions to Psycho-Analysis. London, Hogarth Press, 1948.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Benedek T: Toward the biology of the depressive constellation. J. Am. Psychoanal. Assoc. 4: 389–427, 1956.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mahler M: Notes on the development of basic moods: The depressive affect in psychoanalysis. In: Loewenstein R (ed) Psychoanalysis-A General Psychology. New York, International Universities Press, 1966.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Engel GL: Anxiety and depression-withdrawal: The primary affects of unpleasure. Int. J. Psychoanal. 43: 89–97, 1962.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Spitz RA, Wolf KM: Anaclitic depression. Psychoanal. Study Child. 2: 313–341, 1946.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bowlby J: Some pathological processes set in train by early mother-child separation. J. Ment. Sci. 99: 265–272, 1953.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jacobson E: The Oedipus conflict in the development of depressive mechanisms. Psychoanal. Q. 12: 541–560, 1943.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Anthony EJ: On the genesis of childhood depression. In: Anthony EJ, Gilpin D (eds) Three Clinical Faces of Childhood. New York, Spectrum Publications, 1976.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Anthony EJ, Scott P: Manic-depressive psychosis in childhood. Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 1: 53–72, 1960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Anthony EJ: Two contrasting types of adolescent depression and their treatment. J. Am. Psychoanal. Assoc. 18: 841–859, 1970.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. James Anthony
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Child PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations