Association between Depressive Symptoms and Negative Dependent Life Events from Late Childhood to Adolescence
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- Johnson, D.P., Whisman, M.A., Corley, R.P. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2012) 40: 1385. doi:10.1007/s10802-012-9642-7
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The association between stressful life events and depression has been consistently supported in the literature; however, studies of the developmental trajectories of these constructs and the nature of their association over time are limited. We examined trajectories of depressive symptoms and negative dependent life events and the associations between these constructs in a sample of 916 youth assessed annually from age 9 to 16, using latent growth curve modeling. Youth depressive symptoms, as rated by youth, parents, and teachers, decreased from late childhood into adolescence, whereas rates of youth-rated life events did not change significantly over time. Initial levels of depressive symptoms were positively associated with initial levels of life events. Furthermore, after controlling for the initial association between the two constructs, increases in depressive symptoms (as assessed by parents and youth) were positively associated with increases in life events over time. The study builds on prior research by focusing specifically on negative dependent life events, examining results across multiple informants, and employing latent growth curve modeling to evaluate associations between trajectories of life events and depressive symptoms in a longitudinal adolescent sample. Additional studies employing latent growth modeling to examine the changes in this association during adolescence are needed.