J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2012 Sep;23(3):134-142.

The Prevalence and Epidemiological Characteristics of Childhood Depressive Disorder in South Korea : Self Reported Study

  • 1Maumnuri Psychiatric Clinic, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2The Environmental Health Center, Neuro Development, Cheonan, Korea. paperose@dku.edu
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.


Childhood depressive disorder one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions affecting school aged children. The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence and epidemiological characteristics of childhood depressive disorder in Korea.
In this study, a survey was conducted of elementary school children in the Cheonan area from September 2009 to August 2010. A total of 12,084 children were included in the analyses. The primary measure of depression was the 27-item Kovacs' Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), the Korean Dupaul attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder Rating Scales (K-ARS), Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) and Restless Legs Syndrome Questionnaire (RLSQ) were also administered.
The prevalence rate of childhood depressive disorder was 3.07%. The mean age was 9.21+/-1.81 years for the control group (5,969 male, 6,054 female) and 9.91+/-1.83 years for the depression group (CDI score> or =22 ; 159 male, 210 female). Age, height, weight, and economic status were similar for the two groups. However, there were statistically significant differences in the distribution of sex. The distribution of school grade also differed between the two groups. Scores for CDI, K-ARS, and ASSQ in the depressive group were higher than those of the control group.
This is the first large-scale population-based study to report on the prevalence of childhood depressive disorder in South Korea. Increased rates of childhood depressive disorder, as reported by primary caretakers, might reflect the increasing negative impact of environmental risk factors on neurobehavioral health. Longitudinal study of the prevalence of childhood depressive disorder should be considered for further evaluation.


Childhood Depressive Disorder; Prevalence; Epidemiology
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