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Adolescent Depression

Written by sshowalter.

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Before adolescence, girls and boys experience depression at about the same frequency.1 By adolescence, however, girls become twice as likely to experience depression than boys. Research points to several possible reasons for this.5 The biological and hormonal changes that occur during puberty likely contribute to the sharp increase in rates of depression among adolescent girls. In addition, research has suggested that girls are more likely to continue feeling bad after experiencing difficult situations or events, suggesting they may be more prone to depression.2 Another study found that girls tended to doubt themselves, doubt their problem-solving skills and view their problems as largely unsolvable more so than boys. The girls with these thoughts were more likely to display depressive symptoms as well. Adolescent girls also tended to need a higher degree of approval and success to feel secure than boys.6

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Teenage Depresseion

Finally, girls may undergo more hardships, such as poverty, poor education, childhood sexual abuse, and other traumas than boys. One study found that more than 70% of depressed adolescent girls experienced a difficult or stressful life event prior to a depressive episode, as compared with only 14% of boys.7

Teen depression is also frequently associated with Substance-Related Disorders and Eating Disorders.1Before adolescence, girls and boys experience depression at about the same frequency.1 By adolescence, however, girls become more likely to experience depression than boys. Research points to several possible reasons for this. The biological and hormonal changes that occur during puberty likely contribute to the sharp increase in rates of depression among adolescent girls. In addition, research has suggested that girls are more likely to continue feeling bad after experiencing difficult situations or events, suggesting they may be more prone to depression.2 Another study found that girls tended to doubt themselves, doubt their problem-solving skills and view their problems as largely unsolvable more so than boys. The girls with these thoughts were more likely to display other signs of depressive symptoms as well. Adolescent girls also tended to need a higher degree of approval and success to feel secure than boys.3

Finally, girls may undergo more hardships, such as poverty, poor education, childhood sexual abuse, and other traumas than boys. One study found that more than 70% of depressed adolescent girls experienced a difficult or stressful life event prior to a depressive episode, as compared with only 14% of boys.4

The warning signs of teen depression can be similar to those exhibited by adults. To read more on signs and symptoms of depression, click on Depression Diagnosis.

References

  1. Bebbington, P. E., Dunn, G., Jenkins, R., Lewis, G., Brugha, T., Farrell, M., & Meltzer, H. (2003). The influence of age and sex on the prevalence of depressive conditions: Report from the National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity. International Review of Psychiatry, 15(1-2), 74-83.
  2. Hankin, B. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (2001). Development of gender differences in depression: An elaborated cognitive vulnerability-transactional stress theory. Psychological Bulletin, 127(6), 773-796.
  3. Calvete, E., & Cardenoso, O. (2005). Gender differences in cognitive vulnerability to depression and behavior problems in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(2), 179-192.
  4. Cyranowski, J., Frank, E., Young, E., & Shear, K. (2000). Adolescent onset of the gender difference in lifetime rates of major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57(1), 21-27. 13) Ingram, R. E., Scott, W., & Siegle, G. (1999). Depression: Social and cognitive aspects. In T. Millon, P. H.. Blaney, & R. D. Davis’s (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. How do children and adolescents experience depression? National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed on June 25, 2010 from^http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/how-do-children-and-adolescents-experience-depression.shtml (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/how-do-children-and-adolescents-experience-depression.shtml)
  6. Calvete, E., & Cardenoso, O. (2005). Gender differences in cognitive vulnerability to depression and behavior problems in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(2), 179-192.^
  7. Cyranowski, J., Frank, E., Young, E., & Shear, K. (2000). Adolescent onset of the gender difference in lifetime rates of major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57(1), 21-27. 13) Ingram, R. E., Scott, W., & Siegle, G. (1999). Depression: Social and cognitive aspects. In T. Millon, P. H.. Blaney, & R. D. Davis’s (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology. New York: Oxford University Press.^

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