Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 55-56

Affective Disorders

  • Mysti S. FrazierAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at San Antonio Email author 


Mood disorders


Affective disorders are otherwise known as mood disorders and include a group of emotional, psychological, and behavioral disturbances. These disorders include major depressive disorder, bipolar I and II disorders, schizoaffective disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.


The DSM-IV-TR (2000) defines mood disorders in distinct groups including depressive and bipolar disorders. Major depressive disorder differs from bipolar disorder because there is no history of manic episodes, which is a defining characteristic of bipolar disorder [4].

In children, symptoms of a major depressive episode are shown through irritable or cranky moods and academic problems. Also, these symptoms are different from everyday irritability or frustration and are often comorbid with other childhood disorders, such as ADHD [4]. Finally, depressive episodes emerge more during adolescence along with the onset of puberty [1, 4].

Symptoms of bipola ...

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