Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 9 Issue 1 (January/February 1999), Pages 1-71

Factors associated with depressed mood among adolescents in Northern Ireland (pages 47-59)

Abstract

This paper presents data on the pattern of self‐reported depressed mood among a sample of 887 11–15 year‐old secondary school students living in Northern Ireland. In addition, the paper examines the association between depressed mood and stressful life events, family support and perceived control. Analysis of variance of mean depression scores did not reveal main or interaction effects for age (school year) or sex. However, a school year×sex interaction effect was found when the variation in depression scores due to family cohesiveness (or support) was partialled out in an ANCOVA. In years 1 and 2, males reported higher mean depression scores than females, whereas the pattern was reversed in years 3 and 4. The co‐variates of stressful life events and perceived control did not significantly affect the pattern of mean depression scores. This would tend to suggest that the sex difference in depression found consistently with adults may begin to emerge in middle adolescence; and that the nature and level of family relationships may influence the prevalence and pattern of adolescent depression. The study found a higher mean depression score and a larger proportion of ‘cases’ (27%) than has been recorded in studies of young adolescents living outside Northern Ireland. However, the extent to which higher levels of symptomatology may be related to the politically unsettled nature of Northern Irish society is unclear. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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