UW Today

This is an archived article.

May 25, 2004

60 local families needed for childhood depression, conduct disorder study

University of Washington psychologists seeking to understand the causes of childhood and adolescent depression and conduct disorder are looking for 60 Seattle-area 8- to 12-year-olds and one of their parents to participate in a study.

The investigation is part of $1.4 million study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to examine these conditions separately and in combination, said Theodore Beauchaine, a UW assistant psychology professor who is directing the research

Families selected for the study can earn $375 if they complete four interviews and laboratory sessions over a three-year period. Parents will participate in extensive family history interviews while the children will be given a series of psychological tests. Some of these will gather data — cardiac respiration and skin conductivity information — while the children play video games and watch emotionally happy and sad film clips. All of the interviews and testing will be conducted on the UW’s Seattle campus.

Depressed children tend to have such symptoms as fatigue, low energy, irritability and feelings of worthlessness. Those with conduct disorder exhibit such behaviors as defiance, obstinacy and aggression. For this phase of the study, Beauchaine is looking for 30 children who are depressed and another 30 who have conduct disorder.

“Depression and conduct disorder tend to co-occur in young people and are being diagnosed at increasingly higher numbers,” said Beauchaine. “We are trying untangle the two conditions so we can determine which is the primary problem and design interventions to treat children. We do know that the earlier we can intervene, the more successful treatment can be.”

Parents who want more information or volunteer for the study may do so by calling (206) 543-8844 or by e-mailing jessr105@u.washington.edu

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For more information, contact Beauchaine at (206) 616-8647 or tbeaucha@u.washington.edu