Depression and Reaction to Loss

  • Robert D. Lyman
  • Toni L. Hembree-Kigin
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


It has only been within the last 20 years that there has been a general recognition of the existence of depression in prepubertal children, much less in preschoolers. The reasons for this failure to acknowledge the presence of major affective disturbances in young children are multiple. One factor is the earlier pervasive influence of psychoanalytic theory. Freud (1917) viewed depression as the inward turning of aggressive impulses resulting from object loss, and psychoanalytic theorists did not believe that children possessed sufficiently developed superegos, or stable enough self-concepts, to engage in this process and truly experience depression. Children were acknowledged to experience transient sadness, but this was viewed as trivial and qualitatively different from adult depression. Additional problems contributing to the failure to seriously consider the existence of depression in young children were the absence of adequate assessment instruments for that age group, and the difficulty obtaining and interpreting verbal self-reports from preschoolers.


Preschool Child Depressive Symptomatology Childhood Depression Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory Dysthymic Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Lyman
    • 1
  • Toni L. Hembree-Kigin
    • 2
  1. 1.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Early Childhood Mental Health ServicesTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations