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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


GUNNAR GOTESTAM, K.; SVEBAK, Sven  and  NAPER JENSEN, Eva. The role of Personality, Mood, Subjective Health, and Stress in Depressive Symptoms among High School Students. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2008, vol.22, n.3, pp.121-129. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: Traditionally, depression among adolescents has been considered uncommon, with around 5% estimated to suffer from depressive disorder. The purpose is to investigate occurrence and psychological correlates for depressive symptoms in male and female high school adolescents in urban and rural settings. Methods: Participants were 1,069 high school students (response rate 92.0%) with a mean age of 17.6 years. The instruments used were the Zung Depression Self-Rating Scale (SDS), Life Regard Index (LRI), the Neuroticism scale by Eysenck (EPQ-N), the Tension and Effort Stress Inventory (TESI), the Subjective Health Complaints scale (SHC), and the Sense of Humour Questionnaire (SHQ-6). Results: Analyzes of Variance showed sex and urban/rural main effects, and/or interactions (boys and rural students showing highest positive ratings). Stepwise regression analyzes on depression showed all but the TESI variables to significantly explain 41% of the variance in depression. The Sense of Humour and Life Regard Index were strong contributors to depression (55% of variation) when effects of bodily complaints and scores on stressors and efforts were eliminated. Conclusions: The present study showed an unexpectedly high prevalence of severe (12.7%) as well as moderate depressive symptoms (total of 49.2%). Therefore, the results indicate an increase of adolescent depression in recent years. Negative and positive mood, as well as sense of humour, goals in life, and fulfilment of goals seemed to be protecting. Prevalence of depressive symptoms in adolescents was shown to be higher than expected. Positive resource variables appeared to be protecting.

Keywords : Adolescents; Bodily complaints; Depression; Effort; High school; Meaningful life; Mood; Neuroticism; Sense of humour; Stress.

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