Development and Psychopathology


Depressive symptoms over first grade and their response to a developmental epidemiologically based preventive trial aimed at improving achievement

Sheppard G. Kellama1 c1, George W. Reboka1, Lawrence S. Mayera1a2, Nick Ialongoa1 and Cynthia R. Kalodnera3

a1 Prevention Research Center, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene & Public Health

a2 Arizona State University

a3 Washington College


This article is about the course of depressive symptoms during a classroom-based randomized preventive field trial aimed at improving reading achievement among first-grade children in an urban population of mixed ethnicity and lower middle to low socioeconomic status. In the fall, children reported high levels of depressive symptoms, a risk factor for major depressive disorder. There was a linear relationship in the fall between depressive symptoms and achievement test scores. Among male children in intervention classrooms whose gain in achievement was at least the national average, depression from fall to spring was decreased, compared to those whose achievement gain was lower. Among female children both in the control and in the intervention classrooms, there was also a significant relationship between gain in achievement and the course of depression.


c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Sheppard Kellam, Prevention Research Center, Mason F. Lord Building, Suite 500, 4940 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224.