174894 A Comparison of Patterns of Depression between Middle and High School Students

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scott Frank , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Anne E. Gifford , Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Purpose: To compare patterns and rates of depression between high school and middle school students. Background: The rates of depression among 14 to 18 year olds are 10 to 20%, with depression twice as common in girls. Depression impacts adolescent life strongly, influencing emotional development, school performance, and relationships. Depression studies have been focused on high school rather than middle school students. Methods: Core items from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (66 items) were administered concurrently with a validated measure for depression to middle school (n=735) and high school students (n=416) in one urban-suburban Midwestern community. Chi-square analyses examined associations of depression with demographics, risk and protective factors. Results: Middle school students were substantially more likely to report 0 to 1 depressive criteria (71%) than high school students (55.6%). Female gender was associated with depression in high school but not middle school students, while depression was higher among African American middle school students than high school students. Depression occurred more among only middle school students in single parent homes and when the father experienced unemployment. A sibling in the home resulted in lower rates of depression in middle school students only. There were meaningful differences between middle and high school students in the relationship of depression to current and lifetime tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; violence; peer substance use; and protective factors. Conclusions: Substantial differences were noted in rates and patterns of depression between middle and high school students. More investigation into middle school mental health is warranted.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize differences in rates and demographic patterns of stress and depression between Middle and High school students. 2. Identify risk and protective factor differences for stress and depression between Middle and High school students

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Involved in all stages of research and authorship
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.