Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 1015–1028 | Cite as

Depressed Adolescents and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders: Are There Differences in the Presentation of Depression?

  • David Marc SmallEmail author
  • Anne D. Simons
  • Paul Yovanoff
  • Susan G. Silva
  • Cara C. Lewis
  • Jessica L. Murakami
  • John March


Patterns and correlates of comorbidity, as well as differences in manifest depressive profiles were investigated in a sample of depressed adolescents. A sub-sample of the youth were characterized as belonging to either a Pure depression group, an Internalizing group (depression and co-occurring internalizing disorders), or an Externalizing group (depression and co-occurring externalizing disorders). Item response theory (IRT) and differential item functioning (DIF) were used to assess whether the depressed adolescents from the different comorbidity groups presented with different depressive symptoms. Results indicated that the comorbidity groups were meaningfully distinct in terms of psychosocial correlates as well as showed differences in depressive symptom profiles as informed by DIF analyses. In particular, the comorbidity groups differed in terms of presentation of psychomotor changes and cognitive impairments. Implications for assessment are discussed.


Adolescent depression Comorbidity Item response theory Differential item functioning Depression profiles 



The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) is coordinated by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Duke Clinical Research Institute at Duke University Medical Center in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Rockville, Maryland. The Coordinating Center principal collaborators are John March, Susan Silva, Stephen Petrycki, John Curry, Karen Wells, John Fairbank, Barbara Burns, Marisa Domino, and Steven McNulty. The NIMH principal collaborators are Benedetto Vitiello and Joanne Severe. Principal Investigators and Co-investigators from the clinical sites are as follows: Carolinas Medical Center: Charles Casat, Jeanette Kolker, Karyn Riedal, Marguerita Goldman; Case Western Reserve University: Norah Feeny, Robert Findling, Sheridan Stull, Felipe Amunategui; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Elizabeth Weller, Michele Robins, Ronald Weller, Naushad Jessani; Columbia University: Bruce Waslick, Michael Sweeney, Rachel Kandel, Dena Schoenholz; Johns Hopkins University: John Walkup, Golda Ginsburg, Elizabeth Kastelic, Hyung Koo; University of Nebraska: Christopher Kratochvil, Diane May, Randy LaGrone, Martin Harrington; New York University: Anne Marie Albano, Glenn Hirsch, Tracey Knibbs, Emlyn Capili; University of Chicago/Northwestern University: Mark Reinecke, Bennett Leventhal, Catherine Nageotte, Gregory Rogers; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center: Sanjeev Pathak, Jennifer Wells, Sarah Arszman, Arman Danielyan; University of Oregon: Anne Simons, Paul Rohde, James Grimm, Lananh Nguyen; University of Texas Southwestern: Graham Emslie, Beth Kennard, Carroll Hughes, Maryse Ruberu; Wayne State University: David Rosenberg, Nili Benazon, Michael Butkus, Marla Bartoi. Greg Clarke (Kaiser Permanente) and David Brent (University of Pittsburgh) are consultants; James Rochon (Duke University Medical Center) is statistical consultant.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Marc Small
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne D. Simons
    • 1
  • Paul Yovanoff
    • 2
  • Susan G. Silva
    • 3
  • Cara C. Lewis
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Murakami
    • 1
  • John March
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Duke University Research InstituteDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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