Incidence and teachers' perceived causation of depression in primary school children in Greece
Emotional difficulties, and especially depressive symptomatology, constitute a serious and relatively frequent childhood problem which are often overlooked. Teachers' responses to pupils' depression seem to be related to their understanding concerning the causes of this problem. Thus, the, aims of the present research are: (a) to estimate the proportion of pupils displaying depressive symptomatology; (b) to examine teachers' readiness and ability to identify those pupils; (c) to search for teachers' perceptions concerning the causation of pupils' behavioural-emotional problems including depression and (d) to explore the differences between younger and older teachers' ausal attributions. The sample consisted of 323 pupils from the fifth to sixth grades and their teachers, in the area of Volos, Greece. Pupils completed the Children's Depression Inventory, while their teachers completed a questionnaire concerning their perceptions of the incidence and causes of their students' emotional-behavioural problems and depressive symptoms. The results indicate that approximately 30 percent of the students indicated a high level of depressive symptoms, while their teachers seemed to lack readiness and skills for identifying this; they reported more often behaviour problems and tended to attribute students' difficulties to factors lying outside the school context. Implications are discussed in terms of developments in teachers' training and policies leading to greater support for pupils experiencing depressive symptoms.