Abnormal Child & Adolescent Psychology

Resources for students and teachers...

13. Depressive Disorders & Suicide

Learning Objectives

Describe the key features of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), and differentiate DMDD from

other conditions affecting young children.


Identify and give examples of evidence-based treatments for DMDD.


Describe the key features of major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymic disorder, and show how children

might manifest these disorders differently than adults.


Analyze the major causes of depressive disorders in children and adolescents ranging from genetic–biological

factors to social–cultural influences.

Evaluate the efficacy and safety of medication, psychosocial therapy, and combined treatment for youths with

depressive disorders.

Differentiate suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), and describe how the prevalence of self-injurious behaviors

varies as a function of age, gender, and ethnicity.

Identify some of the main causes of suicide in youths and evidence-based techniques to prevent and treat suicidal


Note: The number before each objective shows its corresponding module in the text.


Ready to Study? Click here to access flashcards for key terms presented in the text. Flashcards are a great way to help you define, explain, and give examples of important terms and ideas. (You may need to create a free Quizlet account to access the flashcards.)

Test Your Critical Thinking

Ready to Review? Click here to review each of the research questions presented in the text. Review questions are a great way to test your application and critical thinking skills.


Psychosocial Treatment

Dr. Anne Marie Albano (Columbia University) discusses evidence-based psychosocial treatment options for youths with depression.

Medication for Depression

Dr. Gabrielle Carlson (Stony Brook University) describes the efficacy and safety of medication for children and adolescents with depression.

Assessing Suicide Risk

Dr. Cheryl King (University of Michigan) describes how professionals assess suicide risk in children and adolescents.

Learn More

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Medication Guide

The AACAP website contains an excellent guide, written for parents, that discusses medication used to treat depression in children and adolescents. The guide provides up-to-date information about medication options and safety.

Coping With Depression - Adolescent Treatment Manual

You can read the CWD-A treatment manual as well as other cognitive-behavioral treatment manuals at his site, maintained by Dr. Gregory Clarke. Please note that these manuals are meant to be used by mental health professionals only and are not meant to be self-help manuals.

Families for Depression Awareness

 Families for Depression Awareness is a national nonprofit organization helping families recognize and cope with depressive disorders to get people well and prevent suicides. This section of their website provides information specific to depression in children and adolescents. You may also want to read their “stories and interviews.”

NIMH: Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study

The National Institute of Mental Health provides a review of the TADS study and recommendations for the treatment of depressive disorders in adolescents.

PBS: Information for Children and Families on Depression

PBS Kids has produced a great webpage for children about depression and other emotional problems. Be sure to look at the videos which deal with topics such as the death of a loved one, coping with parental divorce, and the transition to middle school.