Adolescent Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms : co-development of Behavioral and Academic Problems
Article [Author's Original]
Is part ofJournal of adolescent health ; vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 313-319.
Purpose: Increasing evidence suggests the existence of heterogeneity in the development of depressive symptoms during adolescence, but little remains known regarding the implications of this heterogeneity for the development of commonly co-occurring problems. In this study, we derived trajectories of depressive symptoms in adolescents and examined the codevelopment of multiple behavioral and academic problems in these trajectories. Methods: Participants were 6,910 students from secondary schools primarily located in disadvantaged areas of Quebec (Canada) who were assessed annually from the age 12 to 16 years. Trajectories were identified using growth mixture modeling. The course of behavioral (delinquency, substance use) and academic adjustment (school liking, academic achievement) in trajectories was examined by deriving latent growth curves for each covariate conditional on trajectory membership. Results: We identified five trajectories of stable-low (68.1%), increasing (12.1%), decreasing (8.7%), transient (8.7%), and stable-high (2.4%) depressive symptoms. Examination of conditional latent growth curves revealed that the course of behavioral and academic problems closely mirrored the course of depressive symptoms in each trajectory. Conclusions: This pattern of results suggests that the course of depressive symptoms and other adjustment problems over time is likely to involve an important contribution of shared underlying developmental process(es).