Advertisement

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 403–415 | Cite as

Secular Trends in Depressive Symptoms Among Norwegian Adolescents from 1992 to 2010

  • Tilmann von Soest
  • Lars Wichstrøm
Article

Abstract

Several survey studies among adolescents have shown increasing rates of depressive symptoms over the last two to three decades. We know however little about mechanisms that might explain this increase. The present study uses data from three nationwide representative surveys of 16–17 year-old Norwegian adolescents that were conducted according to identical procedures in 1992, 2002, and 2010 (response rates 97.0, 91.0, 84.3 %, respectively). At each time point, approximately 3,000 adolescents participated (48.8 % girls and 51.2 % boys). Questionnaire data on depressive symptoms and a variety of potential risk and protective factors that might explain time trends in such symptoms were assessed at all time points. The results showed that the prevalence of high scores on depressive symptoms increased significantly between 1992 and 2002 among both boys and girls. No significant changes were observed between 2002 and 2010. The increase from 1992 to 2002 among girls and boys could be partially attributed to increases in eating problems and cannabis use, while reduced satisfaction with own appearance among girls contributed as well. Although the study does not provide information about the causal direction between putative risk factors and depressive symptoms, the results provide some indication that eating problems, cannabis use, and appearance related factors may contribute in explaining secular trends in depressive symptoms.

Keywords

Secular trends Adolescence Youth Depression Risk factors 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The writing of this article was supported by a grant (# 196226V50) from the Research Council of Norway. The first two data collections were as well funded by the Research Council of Norway. The last data collection was funded by the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority.

Disclosure

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Achenbach, T. M., Dumenci, L., & Rescorla, L. A. (2003). Are American children’s problems still getting worse? A 23-year comparison. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 1–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen, L. F., Lillegaard, I. T. L., Overby, N., Lytle, L., Klepp, K. I., & Johansson, L. (2005). Overweight and obesity among Norwegian schoolchildren: changes from 1993 to 2000. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 33, 99–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bearman, S. K., & Stice, E. (2008). Testing a gender additive model: the role of body image in adolescent depression. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 1251–1263.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biddle, S. J. H., & Asare, M. (2011). Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, 886–895.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Collishaw, S. (2009). Trends in adolescent depression: A review of the evidence. In W. Yule (Ed.), Depression in childhood and adolescence: The way forward (pp. 7–18). ACAMH Occasional Papers No. 28: Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.Google Scholar
  6. Collishaw, S., Maughan, B., Goodman, R., & Pickles, A. (2004). Time trends in adolescent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1350–1362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Collishaw, S., Maughan, B., Natarajan, L., & Pickles, A. (2010). Trends in adolescent emotional problems in England: a comparison of two national cohorts twenty years apart. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 885–894.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costello, E. J., Erkanli, A., & Angold, A. (2006). Is there an epidemic of child or adolescent depression? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1263–1271.Google Scholar
  9. Derogatis, L. R., Lipman, R. S., Rickels, K., Uhlenhuth, E. H., & Covi, L. (1974). The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL): a self-report symptom inventory. Behavioral Science, 19, 1–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dingle, K., Alati, R., Williams, G. M., Najman, J. M., Bor, W., & Clavarino, A. (2010). The ability of YSR DSM-oriented depression scales to predict DSM-IV depression in young adults: a longitudinal study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 121, 45–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fichter, M. M., Xepapadakos, F., Quadflieg, N., Georgopoulou, E., & Fthenakis, W. E. (2004). A comparative study of psychopathology in Greek adolescents in Germany and in Greece in 1980 and 1998. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 254, 27–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goodman, E., Hinden, B. R., & Khandelwal, S. (2000). Accuracy of teen and parental reports of obesity and body mass index. Pediatrics, 106, 52–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heyerdahl, S., Kvernmo, S., & Wichstrøm, L. (2004). Self-reported behavioural/emotional problems in Norwegian adolescents from multiethnic areas. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 13, 64–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jablonska, B., & Lindberg, L. (2007). Risk behaviours, victimisation and mental distress among adolescents in different family structures. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 42, 656–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kandel, D. B., & Davies, M. (1982). Epidemiology of depressive mood in adolescents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 39, 1205–1212.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Knudsen, A. K., Hotopf, M., Skogen, J. C., Øverland, S., & Mykletun, A. (2010). The health status of nonparticipants in a population-based health study. the Hordaland Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 172, 1306–1314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Langton, E. G., Collishaw, S., Goodman, R., Pickles, A., & Maughan, B. (2011). An emerging income differential for adolescent emotional problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 1081–1088.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lavik, N. J., Clausen, S. E., & Pedersen, W. (1991). Eating behaviour, drug use, psychopathology and parental bonding in adolescents in Norway. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 84, 387–390.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marmorstein, N. R., von Ranson, K. M., Iacono, W. G., & Malone, S. M. (2008). Prospective associations between depressive symptoms and eating disorder symptoms among adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 41, 118–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marmorstein, N. R., Iacono, W. G., & Malone, S. M. (2010). Longitudinal associations between depression and substance dependence from adolescence through early adulthood. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 107, 154–160.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Maughan, B., Collishaw, S., Meltzer, H., & Goodman, R. (2008). Recent trends in UK child and adolescent mental health. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 43, 305–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Milton, K., Bull, F. C., & Bauman, A. (2011). Reliability and validity testing of a single-item physical activity measure. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, 203–208.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moore, T. H. M., Zammit, S., Lingford-Hughes, A., Barnes, T. R. E., Jones, P. B., Burke, M., et al. (2007). Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review. Lancet, 370, 319–328.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Needham, B. L., & Crosnoe, R. (2005). Overweight status and depressive symptoms during adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 48–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nock, M. K., Kazdin, A. E., Hiripi, E., & Kessler, R. C. (2006). Prevalence, subtypes, and correlates of DSM-IV conduct disorder in the national comorbidity survey replication. Psychological Medicine, 36, 699–710.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Paxton, S. J., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Hannan, P. J., & Eisenberg, M. E. (2006). Body dissatisfaction prospectively predicts depressive mood and low self-esteem in adolescent girls and boys. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 539–549.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Presnell, K., Stice, E., Seidel, A., & Madeley, M. C. (2009). Depression and eating pathology: prospective reciprocal relations in adolescents. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 16, 357–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rutter, M., & Smith, D. J. (Eds.). (1995). Psychosocial disorders in young people. Time trends and their causes. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Samdal, O., Leversen, I., Torsheim, T., Manger, M. S., Brunborg, G. S., & Wold, B. (2009). Trender i helse og livsstil blant barn og unge 1985–2005 [Trends in health and lifestyle among children and adolescents from 1985 to 2005]. Bergen: University of Bergen.Google Scholar
  30. Satorra, A., & Bentler, P. M. (2001). A scaled difference chi-square test statistic for moment structure analysis. Psychometrika, 66, 507–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schepman, K., Collishaw, S., Gardner, F., Maughan, B., Scott, J., & Pickles, A. (2011). Do changes in parent mental health explain trends in youth emotional problems? Social Science and Medicine, 73, 293–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sigfusdottir, I. D., Asgeirsdottir, B. B., Sigurdsson, J. F., & Gudjonsson, G. H. (2008). Trends in depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and visits to healthcare specialists: a national study among Icelandic adolescents. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 36, 361–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Statistics Norway. (2012). Barn og unge. Aktuell statistikk [Children and adolescents. Updated statistics]. Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://www.ssb.no/barnogunge/
  34. Stice, E., & Bearman, S. K. (2001). Body image and eating disturbances prospectively predict increases in depressive symptoms in adolescent girls: a growth curve analysis. Developmental Psychology, 37, 597–607.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sund, A. M., Larsson, B., & Wichstrøm, L. (2011). Prevalence and characteristics of depressive disorders in early adolescents in central Norway. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 5, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Swedish Ministry of Education and Culture. (2006). Ungdomar, stress och psykisk ohälsa. [Youth, stress and psychological problems. Stockholm: Ministry of Education and Culture.Google Scholar
  37. Sweeting, H., West, P., Young, R., & Der, G. (2010). Can we explain increases in young people’s psychological distress over time? Social Science and Medicine, 71, 1819–1830.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Thorsen, L. R., Lid, S., & Stene, R. J. (2009). Kriminalitet og rettsvesen 2009 [Crime and the justice system 2009]. Oslo: Statistics Norway.Google Scholar
  39. Tick, N. T., van der Ende, J., & Verhulst, F. C. (2007). Twenty-year trends in emotional and behavioral problems in Dutch children in a changing society. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 116, 473–482.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vedøy, T. F., & Skretting, A. (2009). Ungdom og rusmidler. Resultater fra spørreskjemaundersøkelser 1968–2008 [Adolescents and drug use from 1968–2008]. Oslo: SIRUS.Google Scholar
  41. Wendorf, C. A. (2004). Primer on multiple regression coding: common forms and the additional case of repeated contrasts. Understanding Statistics, 3, 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. West, P., & Sweeting, H. (2003). Fifteen, female and stressed: changing patterns of psychological distress over time. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 44, 399–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wichstrøm, L. (1995). Harter’s self-perception profile for adolescents: reliability, validity, and evaluation of the question format. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65, 100–116.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wichstrøm, L. (1999). The emergence of gender difference in depressed mood during adolescence: the role of intensified gender socialization. Developmental Psychology, 35, 232–245.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wichstrøm, L., Skogen, K., & Øia, T. (1996). The increased rate of conduct problems in urban areas: what is the mechanism? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 471–479.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Social ResearchOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations