'Affluenza': another cause of teen depression
This makes so much sense in today's society. Kids are mistakenly taught they can have anything and be anybody they want. If they have not been taught realistic expectations, it must be a terrible shock to their egos when they fail.
Pamela Fayerman , Canwest News Service
VICTORIA - Mental health experts have coined the term "affluenza" to describe a newly recognized cause of depression in children and youth, delegates to the Canadian Paediatric Society conference heard Tuesday.
"When people have everything in a material sense, they may have perfectionistic expectations and unrealistic goals," said B.C. Children's Hospital psychiatrist Jane Garland in an interview, following her presentation to delegates at a session on mental health problems in children and youth.
"Children keep hearing the message that they can 'do anything,' but if they are constantly given everything, they may not know how to achieve their goals and when they fail, they may have poor coping skills, and an intolerance for discomfort," she said.
Children who are overly indulged may develop "learned helplessness," researchers say.
Telling children they can achieve all their dreams and goals sets them up for low self-esteem and low self-worth when things don't go their way, said Garland, who is head of the Mood and Anxiety Clinic at Children's Hospital.
Long-established risk factors for childhood depression include brain injury, chronic anxiety, medical illness, abuse, abandonment, learning disorders, genetics (family history) and societal factors, which Garland puts under the category "affluenza." She said mental health problems often increase when societies are going through upheaval.