Primack and his associates report their findings in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
It's estimated that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 are exposed to 10 hours a day of media in one form or another, the researchers said.
To explore the possible relationship between some forms of media exposure and a risk for depression among children, the research team analyzed data that had been collected between 2003 and 2008 as part of the Child and Adolescent Depression and Anxiety Study conducted at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh. The kids' ages ranged from 7 to 17.
Forty-six of the 106 mostly white participants, whose average age was 12.7 years, were experiencing a major depressive disorder episode at the time of study (as determined by an initial psychiatric interview). Of those, nearly three in four also had an anxiety disorder, while the other 60 kids had no prior history of mental illness.
Over the two-month study period, the participants (63 percent of whom were female) were interviewed by phone 12 times on five separate weekends and asked to detail their exposure to any of these five media: TV/movies, music, video games, the Internet, and printed matter (such as books, magazines and/or newspapers).
The study authors determined that age and gender had little bearing on whether or not the children were found to have major depressive disorder.
However, in terms of media exposure, the more they listened to music (via MP3 or CD players), the greater the likelihood of having major depressive disorder.
When the researchers divided media exposure into four levels, ranging from least to most exposure, they found each increasing level of music exposure was associated with an 80 percent increase in depression risk.
In contrast, exposure to print media was linked to a lower risk for depression. With
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