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Prevalence and Correlates of Depressive Symptoms in Young Adolescents

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Objectives: To assess prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms in young adolescents and examine associations between symptoms and sociodemographic and behavioral factors. Methods: Cross-sectional survey data from 3621 seventh grade students from 16 middle schools were analyzed. Results: Elevated depressive symptoms were reported by 40% of girls and 30% of boys. Socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and age group were independently associated with depressive symptomatology. For girls, monthly alcohol use, monthly smoking, heavy drinking, and inhalant use were significant correlates. For boys, monthly alcohol use and inhalant use were significant. Conclusions: Elevated depressive symptomatology was a prevalent problem. Substance use was often associated with depressive symptoms, especially among girls.
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Keywords: adolescents; depressive symptoms; substance use

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. 2: Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. 3: Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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