European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 226–233

Predictors of depression at eighteen

A 7-year follow-up study in a Spanish nonclinical population
  • Josepa Canals
  • Edelmira Domènech-Llaberia
  • Joan Fernández-Ballart
  • Carles Martí-Henneberg

DOI: 10.1007/s00787-002-0286-y

Cite this article as:
Canals, J., Domènech-Llaberia, E., Fernández-Ballart, J. et al. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2002) 11: 226. doi:10.1007/s00787-002-0286-y


This study prospectively examined predicting factors and depressive antecedents of depression in early adulthood and determined differences by sex. 199 adolescents aged 11–12 from the general community were followed up annually for 4 years and reassessed at 18 years of age. Sociodemographic data, depressive symptomatology, anxiety level, personality dimensions, self-esteem, academic aptitude and pubertal development were reported throughout this period and tested as possible risk variables of depression. At 18, depression was diagnosed using ICD-10 criteria. Of the cases of major depression (MDD) at eighteen, 30 % had been diagnosed as MDD between 12 and 14 years of age. Of the cases of MDD at eighteen, 80 % had had depressive symptomatology between the ages of 11 and 14. Subclinical scores in the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) were early indicators of long-term risk. Gender differences were found in the risk pattern; depressive symptoms were more significant in girls than in boys. In boys, early anxious symptomatology was a significant predictor. This study reports cross-cultural data that support a continuity of depression from adolescence to young adulthood.

Key words depression – adolescence – longitudinal study – risk factors – pubertal status

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josepa Canals
    • 1
  • Edelmira Domènech-Llaberia
    • 2
  • Joan Fernández-Ballart
    • 3
  • Carles Martí-Henneberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Rovira i Virgili University, Cta Valls s/n, 43007 Tarragona, Spain. jcs@fcep.urv.esES
  2. 2.Department of Health and Social Psychology, Autònoma University of Barcelona, SpainES
  3. 3.Unit of Preventive Medicine, Rovira i Virgili University, SpainES
  4. 4.Unit of Pediatrics, Rovira i Virgili University, SpainES