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Multiple pathways to self-reported depression and psychological adjustment among adolescents

  • Susan Harter (a1) and Nancy R. Whitesell (a1)

Abstract

This study built upon earlier work documenting a theoretically derived model of four antecedents of depression, defined by a composite of global self-worth, affect (cheerful to depressed, and hope (hopefulness or hopelessness), among normative samples of adolescents. The four antecedents were: (a) perceived competence/adequacy in peer-salient domains (perceived appearance, peer likability, and athletic competence); (b) peer support; (c) perceived competence/adequacy in parent-salient domains (scholastic competence and behavioral conduct); and (d) parent support. However, not all components are observed in the profiles of individual adolescents. Thus, in this study, we examined the multiple pathways among those reporting depressive reactions (defined by the composite) as well as the different routes to positive adjustment, among those with high scores on the composite. Six profiles were identified among each group. For those reporting depressive reactions, perceived deficiencies in both peer- and parent-salient domains were particularly critical predictors. In contrast, for those reporting positive adjustment, peer and parent support were central components. The discussion emphasized the need to consider individual profile differences in planning interventions for adolescents at risk.

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Corresponding author

Department of Psychology, University of Denver, 2155 S. Race Street, Denver, CO 80208

References

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