A Preschool Intervention

Depression symptoms found in toddlers

(RxWiki News) Recent studies have shown symptoms of clinical depression arising as early as age three. Doctors have responded by creating a therapy that parents can use to help.

An innovative form of a treatment entitled Parent-Child Interaction Therapy - Emotion Development (PCIT-ED) was developed and tested to improve depression symptoms at this early stage to prevent future episodes.

"Ask your pediatrician about Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. "

PCIT-ED, a behavioral family intervention for children ages 2-7, works with disruptive behavior disorders. According to a training guide available though the University of Florida's PCIT Training Committee, the aim of the program is to build a more nurturing relationship between  parent and child.

Psychologists identify a strained parent-child relationship in many cases of children with behavioral disorders and aim to facilitate positive communication.

The National Institute of Mental Health recently funded a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry highlighting the innovative psychosocial approach to alleviate symptoms of depression in preschoolers.

The study looked at patients aged 3-7 and their prospective caregivers, comparing PCIT-ED against psycho-education. 19 individuals were treated by PCIT-ED and 10 completed psycho-education.

PCIT-ED proved more effective in executive functioning and emotional recognition skills. Joan Luby, M.D., professor of child psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues suggest that "PCIT-ED may be a promising early intervention for depression."

This study also provides warrant for larger future studies on PCIT-ED and childhood depression.