Depression in Adolescents

Kayla Denne

5 Must-Know Facts About Teenage Depression

Symptoms

According to the Berk text,

  • feelings of sadness or frustration
  • hopeless about life
  • loss of interest in activities
  • isolation
  • lack of sleeping and eating
  • self-critical

Factors

  • Genes
  • Experience
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Other environmental influences

Sex differences

Females are more likely to be depressed than males. This is partly because of the specific changes girls go through in order for puberty to go smoothly, such as weight gain -- which causes self anxiety and lowers self-esteem. Another reason would be the way girls deal with stress and their coping mechanisms.
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Evidence

Researchers conducted a study of adolescent males and females to see if a decrease in self-esteem corresponds with social phobia and depression. The study was conducted on a large group of ninth grade students, with a good mixture of males and females. A total of 2,038 students were surveyed. For the survey they used the Beck Depression Inventory, the Social Phobia Inventory, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.


The scores were tallied, and the results came back as expected. The decrease in self-esteem is associated with symptoms of social phobia and depression. Surprisingly it showed more in boys than in girls. This study proves that the decreasing self-esteem in adolescents is an important factor for depression. Self-esteem corresponds with how each gender copes with things.

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Treatment and Prevention

  • Be aware and educated of the symptoms of depression so you can detect it in your teen
  • Antidepressant medications
  • Compassionate listening
  • Individual, family, or group therapy
  • Strong family and peer support

Sources

Berk, L. (2007). Emotional and Social Development in Adolescence. In Development through the lifespan (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


Väänänen, J., Isomaa, R., Kaltiala-Heino, R., Fröjd, S., Helminen, M., & Marttunen, M. (2014). Decrease in self-esteem mediates the association between symptoms of social phobia and depression in middle adolescence in a sex-specific manner: A 2-year follow-up of a prospective population cohort study. BMC Psychiatry, 14doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-79