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NCJ Number: 197458 Find in a Library
Title: Factors Contributing to Gender Differences in Depressive Symptoms: A Test of Three Developmental Models
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:31  Issue:6  Dated:December 2002  Pages:405-417
Author(s): Inge Seiffge-Krenke; Mark Stemmler
Editor(s): Daniel Offer
Date Published: December 2002
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Through the testing of three developmental models explaining the emergence of gender differences in adolescent depressive symptoms, this article attempts to substantiate whether changes in some variables are more distinctive for adolescent girls than for adolescent boys and how much these changes are linked to depression or depressive symptoms.
Abstract: This longitudinal study attempted to better understand the empirically substantiated finding of gender-specific differences in the emergence of depression in adolescence. The conceptual approach taken was oriented to the theoretical work of Nolen-Hoeksema and Girgus in 1994 that described and evaluated three developmental models for explaining the appearance of gender differences in depression during adolescence. These models included: (1) hierarchical regressions with gender entered at Step 1 and etiological factor at Step 2; (2) gender-specific, cross-sectional correlations between etiological factors and depressive symptoms; and (3) early maturation as an etiological factor. The 4-year longitudinal study included 115 adolescents exploring the impact of major events, relationship stressors, and coping style in interaction with biological changes on depressive outcome in late adolescence. The role of a certain personality characteristic thought to be a variable contributing to the emergence of depressive outcome, specifically individual coping style, was examined. The Model 1 findings showed that stress in the relationship with the mother represented a risk factor for depressive outcome in adolescent girls at all ages. Model 2 findings indicate that not only did risk factors for depression differ according to gender but that such factors for girls were more common in early adolescence. According to Model 3, while the factors that caused depression were the same in girls and boys, they were already more common in girls than in boys before early adolescence. The prevalence of such factors did not increase in girls during adolescence, but the risk factors might lead to depression only when they interact with certain other challenges increasing in prevalence in early adolescence. In summary, gender differences in depression in adolescence may be due to the fact that girls are more likely than boys to have pre-existing risk factors for depression that interact with the challenges occurring in early adolescence. Tables and references
Main Term(s): Gender issues
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Adolescents at risk; Behavior under stress; Children at risk; Comparative analysis; Critical incident stress; Juveniles; Longitudinal studies; Male female juvenile offender comparisons; Male female offender comparisons; Mental health; Stress assessment
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