The images of a group of preschoolers running around and enjoying each other and their environment generally do not include children who are depressed and anxious. Even if they cannot be easily identified, a new study suggests roughly 15 percent of these children do experience such mental states. A recent Science Daily release focused on this five-year investigation into the general mental state of preschool aged children. In fact, this study suggests that 15 percent of preschoolers actually have atypically high levels of depression and anxiety. Study findings suggest such states were more common if the child’s mother had a history of depression. “As early as the first year of life, there are indications that some children have more risks than others to develop high levels of depression and anxiety,” said first author Sylvana M. Côté, in Science Daily. Côté is a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. “Difficult temperament at five months was the most important predictor of depression and anxiety in the children.” To complete the study, researchers annually evaluated a representative sample of pre-schoolers from five months to five years of age. Ressearchers found that lifetime maternal depression was the second most important predictor of atypically high depressive and anxiety problems in these children. “It is critical that preventive interventions be experimented with infants who risk developing depressive and anxiety disorders,” adds Dr. Côté. “Health professionals should target such high risk children at infancy, as well as their parents, to have a long-term impact on their well-being.” This study could help care givers, health care providers and parents gain better understanding of what a child is dealing with in certain situations if they know there is a chance the child is dealing with depression or anxiety issues.