The Role of Self-Concepts in Emerging Adult Depression: A Systematic Research Synthesis

  • Kayla Reed-Fitzke


Emerging adults have the highest rates of depression compared to other age groups, yet effective, developmentally appropriate interventions are scarce. A growing body of research suggests an important link exists between self-concepts and depression. To contribute to the dialogue regarding emerging adult depression, theory, and potential points of intervention, a systematic research synthesis (SRS) on the state of knowledge of the relationship between self-concepts (self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control, and mastery) and emerging adult depression was conducted using the vulnerability and stress process models. Three primary findings emerged: a greater breadth of work has examined self-esteem and has provided support for its relationship with depression; research on self-efficacy, mastery, and locus of control is minimal with mixed results; and self-concepts work in differential ways to impact depression. Preliminary evidence suggests interpersonal stressors have a contributing role in the relationship between self-concepts and depression. Results identify new avenues of interventions to pursue for a population at risk for depression and in need of developmentally appropriate treatment options.


Depression Emerging adults Research synthesis Self-concepts 



This study was not funded.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that conflict of interest does not exist.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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