Key Findings: U.S. Children with Diagnosed Anxiety and Depression

Portrait of sad Asian girl sitting in a window sill

In an article published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, CDC researchers found that, as of 2011-2012, more than 1 in 20, or 2.6 million, U.S. children aged 6-17 years had current anxiety or depression that had previously been diagnosed by a healthcare provider. These parent report data showed slightly more boys than girls had a diagnosis of anxiety or depression. About 1 in 5 children with current anxiety and depression did not receive mental health treatment in the past year.

One in 24 children were diagnosed with anxiety in 2011 to 2012, compared to the 2007 estimate of 1 in 28 children. Researchers also found that 1 in 37 children were diagnosed with depression in 2011 to 2012, which is similar to the 2007 estimate.

Based on the 2011 to 2012 data, children with current anxiety or depression were more likely than those without to have:

  • Another mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disability, or speech or language problems
  • Other chronic health conditions, like asthma or hearing problems
  • School problems
  • Parents who report high levels of stress and frustration with parenting
  • Unmet medical and mental health service needs

About the Study

Researchers analyzed survey data from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), which is sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The survey asked parents specific questions about the health and wellbeing of a randomly selected child in their household.

A large number of children and adolescents are diagnosed with anxiety and depression in the U.S. It is important to monitor these conditions and how they are treated because they have a significant impact on overall health and relationships.

More Information

Reference

Rebecca H. Bitsko, Joseph R. Holbrook, Reem M. Ghandour, Stephen J. Blumberg, Susanna N. Visser, Ruth Perou, John Walkup.
Epidemiology and impact of healthcare provider diagnosed anxiety and depression among US children.
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
Published online before print April 24, 2018 [Read summaryExternal]