A longitudinal study of risk factors for adolescent depression : gender differences and pathways of risk
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Despite consistent evidence that adolescent girls are at greater risk for developing depression than adolescent boys (Ge, Lorenz, Conger, & Elder, 1994; Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987, 1990; Weissman, Leaf, Holzer, Myers, & Tischler, 1984), and that women continue to predominate among depressed adults throughout the lifespan (Kessler, McGonagle, Swartz, Blazer & Nelson, 1993), few studies have examined the etiologic risk factors that predict depression for adolescent girls using a prospective design or examined differential processes of risk in a sample of adolescent girls and boys. Furthermore, although a number of variables have been implicated as risk factors for depressive symptoms or onset of depression among adolescents, some methodological limitations exist. The objective of this research was to examine a set of risk factors suspected to predict depression in adolescents, and to test whether gender moderates these relations. Secondly, this study examined a set of risk factors proposed by the gender additive model of depression (Stice et al., 2000; Stice & Bearman, 2001) that attempts to partially explain the increased prevalence of depressive symptoms in adolescent girls compared to boys. Finally, exploratory classification tree analyses tested for interactions between risk factors that might signal differential pathways to depression. This research provides insight into the etiology of adolescent depression as well as the disparate rate of depression among adolescent girls versus boys, and also provides direction for identifying high-risk individuals and developing effective prevention programs.
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