Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 977–986 | Cite as

Anger, Happiness, and Sadness: Associations with Depressive Symptoms in Late Adolescence

  • Tara M. Chaplin

This study used self-report and observational methods to examine associations between depressive symptoms and patterns of emotional experience and expression during late adolescence. Fiftyone male and 49 female first and second year college students completed questionnaires on emotion experience and were videotaped while completing a frustrating task with a friend. Emotion expressions were coded from videotapes. Findings revealed associations between depressive symptoms and reporting high anger experience in the past month but displaying low anger with a friend, reporting low happiness but showing high happiness in the task, and reporting high sadness experience. Gender differences were found in depressive symptoms and in observed and reported happiness. Findings highlight the importance of anger and happiness, in addition to sadness, for depression.


emotion affect anger happiness depressive symptoms gender late adolescence adolescence 



This investigation was supported through a dissertation award from the Pennsylvania State University's College of the Liberal Arts. The author wishes to thank the following individuals for their help with the project: (1) the study participants; (2) Pamela Cole, Stephanie Shields, Jeffrey Parker, and Eva Lefkowitz for their thoughtful comments on the manuscript; (3) Amanda Pearl, Lucy Korfman, JoAnne Mullen, Laura Shipper, and Ryan Etzel, for their help with data collection and coding.


  1. Alfeld-Liro, C., and Sigelman, C. K. (1998). Sex differences in self-concept and symptoms of depression during the transition to college. J. Youth Adolesc. 27: 219–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, J. P., Hauser, S. T., Eickholt, C., Bell, K. L., and O'Connor, T. G. (1994). Autonomy and relatedness in family interactions as predictors of expressions of negative adolescent affect. J. Res. Adolesc. 4: 535–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fourth Edition. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  4. Archer, J. A. (1991). Counseling College Students: Apractical Guide for Teachers, Parents, and Counselors. Continuum, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. Am. Psychol. 55: 469–480.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barrett, K. C., and Campos, J. J. (1987). Perspectives on emotional development II: A functionalist approach to emotions. In Osofsky, J. (ed.), Handbook of Infant Development. Wiley, New York, pp. 555–578.Google Scholar
  7. Beck, A., Steer, R., Ball, R., and Ranieri, W. (1996). Comparison of Beck Depression Inventories-IA and -II in psychiatric outpatients. J. Pers. Assess. 67: 588–597.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berndt, T. J. (1987). The distinctive features of conversations between friends: Theories, research, and implications for sociomoral development. In Kurtines, W. M., and Gewirtz, J. L. (eds.), Moral Development Through Social Interaction. Wiley, Oxford, pp. 281–300.Google Scholar
  9. Biaggio, M. K., and Godwin, W. H. (1987). Relation of depression to anger and hostility constructs. Psychol. Rep. 61: 87–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Blatt, S. (2004). Experiences of Depression: Theoretical, Clinical, and Research Perspectives. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  11. Blumberg, S., and Izard, C. E. (1985). Affective and cognitive characteristics of depression in 10- and 11-year-old children. J.Pers. Soc. Psychol. 49: 194–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Breen, M. A., and Weinberger, D. A. (1995). Regulation of depressive affect and interpersonal behavior among children requiring residential or day treatment. Dev. Psychopathol. 7: 529–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brody, L. (1999). Gender, Emotion, and the Family. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  14. Carbery, J., and Buhrmester, D. (1998). Friendship and need fulfillment during three phases of young adulthood. J. Soc. Pers. Relationships 15: 393–409.Google Scholar
  15. Carey, T. C., Finch, A. J., and Carey, M. P. (1991). Relation between differential emotions and depression in emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 59: 594–597.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cassidy, J. (1994). Emotion regulation: Influences of attachment relationships. In Fox, N. A. (ed.), The development of emotion regulation: Biological and behavioral considerations. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59 (2–3, Serial No. 240): 73–100.Google Scholar
  17. Chaplin, T. M., and Cole, P. M. (2005). The role of emotion regulation in the development of psychopathology. In Hankin, B. L., and Abela, J. R. Z. (eds.), Development of Psychopathology: A Vulnerability-Stress Perspective. Sage, Thousands Oaks, CA, pp. 49–74.Google Scholar
  18. Cicchetti, D., Ackerman, B. P., and Izard, C. E. (1995). Emotions and emotion regulation in developmental psychopathology. Dev. Psychopathol. 7: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clark, L. A., and Watson, D. (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: Psychometric evidence and taxonomic implications. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 100: 316–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cohen, J., and Cohen, P. (1983). Applied Multiple Regression/Correlation Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd edn.). Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  21. Cole, P. M. (1986). Children's spontaneous control of facial expression. Child Dev. 57: 1309–1321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cole, P. M., Martin, S. E., and Dennis, T. A. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: Methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Dev. 75: 317–333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cole, P. M., Michel, M. K., and Teti, L. O. (1994a). The development of emotion regulation and dysregulation: A clinical perspective. In Fox, N. A. (ed.), The development of emotion regulation: Biological and behavioral considerations. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59, (2–3, Serial No. 240): 73–100.Google Scholar
  24. Cole, P. M., Zahn-Waxler, C., and Smith, K. D. (1994b). Expressive control during a disappointment: Variations related to preschoolers' behavior problems. Dev. Psychol. 30: 835–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Davidson, R. J. (2000). Affective style, psychopathology, and resilience: Brain mechanisms and plasticity. Am. Psychol. 55: 1196–1214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Davidson, R. J., Scherer, K. R., and Goldsmith, H. H. (2003). Handbook of Affective Sciences. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  27. Davis, B., Sheeber, L., Hops, H., and Tildesley, E. (2000). Adolescent responses to depressive parental behaviors in problem-solving interactions: Implications for depressive symptoms. J. Abnorm. Child Psychol. 28: 451–465.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ekman, P., and Friesen, W. V. (1975). Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions from Facial Cues. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  29. Ekman, P., and Friesen, W. V. (1978). Facial Action Coding System.Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA.Google Scholar
  30. Field, T., Fox, N., Pickens, J., and Nawrocki, R. (1995). Relative right frontal activation in 3- to 6-month-old infants of “depressed” mothers. Dev. Psychol. 31: 358–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fivush, R. (1998). Methodological challenges in the study of emotional socialization. Psychol. Inq. 9: 281–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fivush, R., and Buckner, J. P. (2000). Gender, sadness, and depression: The development of emotional focus through gendered discourse. In Fischer, A. H. (ed.), Gender and Emotion: Social Psychological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press & Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, pp. 232–253.Google Scholar
  33. Fridlund, A. J. (1991). Sociality of solitary smiling. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 60: 229–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Freud, S. (1917). Mourning and melancholia. In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, volumes 1–24. Hogarth Press, London, pp. 1953–1974.Google Scholar
  35. Garber, J., and Dodge, K. A. (1991). The Development of Emotion Regulation and Dysregulation. Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Gillham, J. E., Shatte, A. J., and Freres, D. R. (2000). Preventing depression: A review of cognitive-behavioral and family interventions. Appl. Prev. Psychol. 9: 63–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gladstone, T. R. G., and Koenig, L. J. (1995). Sex differences in depression across the high school to college transition. J. Youth Adolesc. 23: 643–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gross, J. J. (1999). Emotion regulation: Past, present and future. Cogn. Emot. 13: 551–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hankin, B. L., Abramson, L. Y., Moffitt, T. E., Silva, P. A., McGee, R., and Angell, K. E. (1998). Development of depression from preadolescence to young adulthood: Emerging gender differences in a 10-year longitudinal study. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 107: 128–140.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Haviland, J. M., and Kahlbaugh, P. (1993). Emotion and identity. In Lewis, M., and Haviland, J. M. (eds.), Handbook of Emotions. Guilford Press, New York, pp. 327–339.Google Scholar
  41. Hay, D. F., and Pawlby, S. (2003). Prosocial development in relation to children's and mothers' psychological problems. Child Dev. 74: 1314–1327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Helgeson, V. S., and Fritz, H. L. (1998). A theory of unmitigated communion. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Rev. 2: 173–183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Henriques, J. B., and Davidson, R. J. (1991). Left frontal hypoactivation in depression. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 100: 535–545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Izard, C. E. (1972). Patterns of Emotions: A New Analysis of Anxiety and Depression. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Izard, C. E. (1979). MAX Coding System. (Available from the Human Emotions Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware).Google Scholar
  46. Izard, C. E., and Ackerman, B. P. (2000). Motivational, organizational and regulatory functions of discrete emotions. In Lewis, M., and Haviland, J. M. (eds.), Handbook of Emotions (2nd edn). The Guilford Press, New York, pp. 253–264.Google Scholar
  47. Izard, C. E., Libero, D. Z., Putnam, P., and Haynes, M. O. (1993). Stability of emotion experiences and their relations to traits of personality. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 64: 847–860.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kasch, K. L., Rottenberg, J., Arnow, B. A., and Gotlib, I. H. (2002). Behavioral activation and inhibition systems and the severity and course of depression. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 111: 589–597.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kring, A. M., and Bachorowski, J. (1999). Emotions and psychopathology. Cogn. Emot. 13: 575–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lindahl, K. M., Clements, M., and Markman, H. (1997). Predicting marital and parent functioning in dyads and triads: A longitudinal investigation of marital processes. J. Fam. Psychol. 11: 139–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Malatesta, C. Z., and Wilson, A. (1988). Emotion cognition interaction in personality development: A discrete emotions functionalist analysis. Br. J. Soc. Psychol. 27: 91–112.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., and Girgus, J. S. (1994). The emergence of gender differences indepression during adolescence. Psychol. Bull. 115: 424–443.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Parker, J. G., and Gottman, J. M. (1989). Social and emotional development in a relational context: Friendship interaction from early childhood to adolescence. In Berndt, T. J., and Ladd, G. W. (eds.), Peer Relationships in Child Development. Wiley, New York, pp. 96–131.Google Scholar
  54. Parker, J. G., and Herrara, C. (1996). Interpersonal processes in friendship: A comparison of abused and nonabused children's experiences. Dev. Psychol. 32: 1025–1038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reinherz, H. Z., Giaconia, R. M., Carmola Hauf, A. M., Wasserman, M. S., and Silverman, A. B. (1999). Major depression in the transition to adulthood: Risks and impairments. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 108: 500–510.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ross, S. E., Niebling, B. C., and Heckert, T. M. (1999). Sources of stress among college students. Coll. Stud. J. 33: 312–317.Google Scholar
  57. Rottenberg, J., Gross, J. J., Wilhelm, F. H., Najmi, S., and Gotlib, I. H. (2002). Crying threshold and intensity in major depressive disorder. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 111: 302–312.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Saarni, C. (1984). An observational study of children's attempts to monitor their expressive behavior. Child Dev. 55: 1504–1513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Saarni, C. (1999). The Development of Emotional Competence. The Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  60. Sanders, M. R., Dadds, M. R., Johnston, B. M., and Cash, R. (1992). Childhood depression and conduct disorder: I. Behavioral, affective, and cognitive aspects of family problem-solving interactions. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 101: 495–504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Scherer, K. (1986). Vocal affect expression: A review and a model for future research. Psychol. Bull. 99: 143–165.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Seidlitz, L., Fujita, F., and Duberstein, P. R. (2000). Emotional experience over time and self-reported depressive symptoms. Pers. Indiv. Diff. 28: 447–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Shields, S. (2002). Speaking from the Heart: Gender and the Social Meaning of Emotion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  64. Stapley, J. C., and Haviland, J. M. (1989). Beyond depression: Gender differences in normal adolescents' emotional experiences. Sex Roles 20: 295–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Steer, R. A., Brown, G. K., Beck, A. T., and Sanderson, W. C. (2001). Mean Beck Depression Inventory-II scores by severity of major depressive disorder. Psychol. Rep. 88: 1075–1076.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tabachnick, B. G., and Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using Multivariate Statistics, (4th edn.). Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  67. Youngren, M. A., and Lewinsohn, P. M. (1980). The functional relation between depression and problematic interpersonal behavior. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 89: 333–341.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zahn-Waxler, C., Cole, P. M., and Barrett, K. C. (1991). Guilt and empathy: Sex differences and implications for the development of depression. In Garber, J., and Dodge, K. A. (eds.), The Development of Emotion Regulation and Dysregulation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 243–272.Google Scholar
  69. Zahn-Waxler, C., Klimes-Dougan, B., and Slattery, M. J. (2000). Internalizing problems of childhood and adolescence: Prospects, pitfalls, and progress in understanding the development of anxiety and depression. Dev. Psychopathol. 12: 443–466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations