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The Dramatic Rise of Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Is It Connected to the Decline in Play and Rise in Schooling?

Rates of depression and anxiety among American children and adolescents have been increasing steadily for the past fifty to seventy years. Today five to eight times as many young people meet the criteria for diagnosis of major depression and/or an anxiety disorder as was true half a century ago or more. This holds even when the diagnostic criteria are constant. Some attribute this rise in psychopathology to the culture's increased materialism and orientation toward extrinsic goals. To that idea I add a further hypothesis.

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