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25-06-2015 | Uitgave 3/2016

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2016

Within-Person Changes in Individual Symptoms of Depression Predict Subsequent Depressive Episodes in Adolescents: a Prospective Study

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2016
Chrystyna D. Kouros, Matthew C. Morris, Judy Garber


The current longitudinal study examined which individual symptoms of depression uniquely predicted a subsequent Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in adolescents, and whether these relations differed by sex. Adolescents (N = 240) were first interviewed in grade 6 (M = 11.86 years old; SD = 0.56; 54 % female; 81.5 % Caucasian) and then annually through grade 12 regarding their individual symptoms of depression as well as the occurrence of MDEs. Individual symptoms of depression were assessed with the Children’s Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R) and depressive episodes were assessed with the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation (LIFE). Results showed that within-person changes in sleep problems and low self-esteem/excessive guilt positively predicted an increased likelihood of an MDE for both boys and girls. Significant sex differences also were found. Within-person changes in anhedonia predicted an increased likelihood of a subsequent MDE among boys, whereas irritability predicted a decreased likelihood of a future MDE among boys, and concentration difficulties predicted a decreased likelihood of an MDE in girls. These results identified individual depressive symptoms that predicted subsequent depressive episodes in male and female adolescents, and may be used to guide the early detection, treatment, and prevention of depressive disorders in youth.

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