A sample of 100 preschool-age children referred to a child development
unit were evaluated using DSM-III criteria for symptoms of depression. Only
four children (4%) received a diagnosis of possible or definite depression;
one of the four children definitely had major depressive disorder. That
prevalence rate is much lower than that reported for older children. The
findings suggest either that major depressive disorder is rare among
preschoolers or that DSM-III criteria are not suitable for diagnosing
affective disorders among preschoolers.