208736 Depression among Early Adolescents and its Association with Risk and Protective Factors

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:52 PM

Anne E. Gifford , Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Scott Frank , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Purpose: To examine depression and its association with risk and protective factors among early adolescents. Background: While depression among high school age adolescents has been widely examined, little is published on early adolescents (age 10-13). Among older teens, depression is more common in girls and minority students and is associated with alcohol and drug use, early onset of sexual activity, and poor academic achievement. Methods: Participants include middle school students of an inner-ring metropolitan suburb (n=1098). The Youth Risk Behavior Survey and a DSM-IV criteria based depression scale were administered. Parents had the option of excluding their child from participation. Students responding positively to at least five depressive criteria are considered depressed for the purpose of this analysis. Results: Approximately 16% of middle school students reported five or more depressive criteria, with an additional 40% reporting one and four criteria. Girls and African American students reported significantly more depression. Depression did not differ by age, grade level, or socioeconomic status. Low academic achievement and stress were significantly related to depression. Prescription drug, alcohol and cigarette use were associated with depressive symptoms. Having at least one trusted adult or one trusted friend was associated with reduced depression rates. Pro-safety behaviors (wearing bike helmets and seatbelts) were associated with lower rates of depression. Conclusion: Depressive symptoms appear in early adolescence at rates similar to older adolescence and are associated with health undermining behaviors. Early detection and intervention may help prevent health and social consequences among these young teens.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain rates of depression in middle school students based on demographics inlcuding sex, race, socio-economic status, and age. 2. Describe trends in associations between early adolescent depression and various risk factors such as drug and alcohol use, school acheivement, peer risk behaviors and parental permissiveness. 3. Analyze protective factors, such as presence of trusted adults and friends, participation in after school activites and personal safety issues associated with low depression rate in early adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Student Research - Case Western Reserve University
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.