European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 298–304 | Cite as

Shaming experiences and the association between adolescent depression and psychosocial risk factors

  • Cecilia Åslund
  • Kent W. Nilsson
  • Bengt Starrin
  • Rickard L. Sjöberg



To investigate whether psychosocial risk factors such as parental separation, parental unemployment and experiences of sexual abuse are associated with adolescent depression, and whether shaming experiences (defined as experiences of being degraded, or ridiculed by others) may account for such an association.


A total of 5048 Swedish adolescents answered the Survey of Adolescent Life in Vestmanland 2004 (SALVe—2004) during classhours. The survey included questions about depressive symptoms, parental separation, parental unemployment and experiences of sexual abuse.


The psychosocial risk factors studied were all associated with depression, but several of these associations became non-significant when a factor for shaming experiences was entered into the models. The explained variance for depression furthermore increased from approximately 4–7% to 17–20% when shame was included.


Shaming experiences may mediate part of the association between psychosocial risk factors and depression. These findings may have important implications for the understanding of psychotherapeutic treatment of the effects of risk factors in depressed patients.


depression shame adolescence sexual abuse 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Åslund
    • 1
  • Kent W. Nilsson
    • 1
  • Bengt Starrin
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rickard L. Sjöberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Clinical ResearchUppsala University, Central Hospital of VästeråsVästeråsSweden
  2. 2.Dept. of Social ScienceKarlstad UniversityKarlstadSweden
  3. 3.Faculty of Health and Social StudiesLillehammer University CollegeLillehammerNorway

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