Prevention Science

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 73–88 | Cite as

Individual, Family, School, and Community Risk and Protective Factors for Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents: A Comparison of Risk Profiles for Substance Use and Depressive Symptoms

  • Lyndal BondEmail author
  • John W. Toumbourou
  • Lyndal Thomas
  • Richard F. Catalano
  • George Patton


This study examines the relationship between adolescent depressive symptoms and risk and protective factors identified for substance use. A questionnaire, developed to measure these factors in a young person’s community, family, school, peer group, and individual characteristics for substance use, was used to assess associations with self-reported depressive symptoms. Data were provided by a representative sample of 8984 secondary school students in Victoria, Australia. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 10.5% (95% CI 9.2,12.0) for males and 21.7% (95% CI 20.3,23.7) for females. Depressive symptoms were associated with factors in all domains, with the strongest associations in the family domain. Strong relationships were found between the number of elevated risk and protective factors and depressive symptoms, maintained after adjusting for substance use. Patterns of associations were similar for users and nonsubstance users. The findings indicate that prevention programs targeting factors for substance use have the potential to impact on depression.


risk factors protective factors depressive symptoms adolescents substance use 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Angold, A., Costello, E. J., Messer, E. C., Pickles, A., Winder, F., & Silver, D. (1995). Development of a short questionnaire for use in epidemiological studies of depression in children and adolescents. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 5, 237–249.Google Scholar
  2. Arthur, M. W., & Blitz, C. (2003). Bridging the gap between science and practice in drug abuse prevention through needs assessment and strategic community planning. Journal of Community Psychology, 28, 241–255.Google Scholar
  3. Arthur, M. W., Hawkins, J. D., Pollard, J. A., Catalano, R. F., & Baglioni, A. J. (2002). Measuring risk and protective factors for substance use, delinquency, and other adolescent problem behaviors: The Communities That Care Youth Survey. Evaluation Review, 26, 575–603.Google Scholar
  4. Bond, L., Carlin, J. B., Thomas, L., Rubin, K., & Patton, G. (2001). Does bullying cause emotional problems? A prospective study of young teenagers. British Medical Journal, 323, 480–484.Google Scholar
  5. Bond, L., Thomas, L., Toumbourou, J., Patton, G., & Catalano, R. F. (2000) Improving the lives of young Victorians: A survey of risk and protective factors. Melbourne: Centre for Adolescent Health.Google Scholar
  6. Bovasso, G. B. (2002). Cannabis abuse as a risk factor for depressive symptoms. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 2033–2037.Google Scholar
  7. Brady, E. U., & Kendall, P. C. (1992). Comorbidity of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 244–255.Google Scholar
  8. Brewer, D. D., Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Neckerman, H. J. (1995). Preventing serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offending: A review of selected strategies in childhood, adolescence and the community. In J. C. Howell, B. Krisberg, J. D. Hawkins, & J. J. Wilson (Eds.), A sourcebook: Serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders (pp. 61–141). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Brook, J. S., Cohen, P., & Brook, D. W. (1998). Longitudinal study of co-occurring psychiatric disorders and substance use. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37, 322–330.Google Scholar
  10. Carlin, J. B., Wolfe, R., Coffey, C., & Patton, G. C. (2001). Tutorial in biostatistics: Analysis of binary outcomes in longitudinal studies using weighted estimating equations and discrete-time survival methods: prevalence and incidence of smoking in an adolescent cohort. Statistics in Medicine, 18, 2655–2679.Google Scholar
  11. Catalano, R. F., & Hawkins, J. D. (1996). The social development model: A theory of anti-social behavior. In J. D. Hawkins (Ed.), Delinquency and crime: Current theories. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. L. (1998). The development of depression in children and adolescents. American Psychologist, 53, 221–241.Google Scholar
  13. Coffey, C., Lynskey, M., Wolfe, R., & Patton, G. C. (2000). Initiation and progression of cannabis use in a population-based Australian adolescent longitudinal study. Addiction, 95, 1679–1690.Google Scholar
  14. Cowen, E., & Work, W. (1988). Resilient children, psychological wellness, and primary prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 591–607.Google Scholar
  15. Cyranowski, J. M., Frank, E., Young, E., & Shear, M. K. (2000). Adolescent onset of the gender difference in lifetime rates of major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 21–27.Google Scholar
  16. Dembo, R., Williams, L., LaVole, L., Schmeidler, J., Kern, J., Getreu, A., Berry, E., Genung, L., & Wish, E. D. (1990). A longitudinal study of the relationships among alcohol use, marijuana/hashish use, cocaine use, and emotional/psychological functioning problems in a cohort of high-risk youth. International Journal of the Addictions, 25, 1341–1382.Google Scholar
  17. Farrington, D. (2002). Developmental criminology and risk-focussed prevention. In R. Maguire, & R. Reiner (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of criminology (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Garmezy, N. (1985). Stress-resistant children: The search for protective factors. In J. E. Stevenson (Ed.), Recent research in developmental psychopathology (pp. 213–233). Oxford, UK: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  19. Harrington, R., Fudge, H., Rutter, M., Pickles, A., & Hill, J. (1990). Adult outcomes of childhood and adolescent depression: Psychiatric status. Archives of General Psychiatry, 47, 465–473.Google Scholar
  20. Hawkins, J. D., Arthur, M. W., & Olson, J. J. (1998). Community interventions to reduce risks and enhance protection against anti-social behavior. In D. M. Stoff, J. Breiling, & J. D. Maser (Eds.), Handbook of anti-social behaviors (pp. 365–374). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  21. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Associates (1992). Communities that care: Action for drug abuse prevention (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64–105.Google Scholar
  23. Henry, B., Feehan, M., McGee, R., & Stanton, W. (1993). The importance of conduct problems and depressive symptoms in predicting adolescent substance use. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 21, 469–480.Google Scholar
  24. Hill, J. P., & Lynch, M. E. (1983). The intensification of gender-related role expectations during early adolescence. In J. Brooks-Gunn & A. C. Petersen (Eds.), Girls at puberty: Biological and psychosocial perspectives (pp. 201–228). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  25. Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Prevention of Mental Disorders (1994). Reducing risks for mental health disorders: frontiers for preventive intervention research. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  26. Jackson, K. M., Sher, K. J., & Wood, P. K. (2000). Trajectories of concurrent substance use disorders: A developmental, typological approach to comorbidity. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 24, 902–913.Google Scholar
  27. Kandel, D. B., Kessler, R. C., & Margulies, R. Z. (1978). Antecedents of adolescent initiation into stages of drug use: A developmental analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 7, 13–40.Google Scholar
  28. Kandel, D. B., Simcha-Fagan, O., & Davies, M. (1986). Risk factors for delinquency and illicit drug use from adolescence to young adulthood. Journal of Drug Issues, 16, 67–90.Google Scholar
  29. Kelder, S. H., Murray, N. G., Orpinas, P., Prokhov, A., McReynolds, L., Zhang, Q., & Roberts, R. (2001). Depression and substance use in minority middle-school students. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 761–766.Google Scholar
  30. Labouvie, E. W., & McGee, C. R. (1986). Relation of personality to alcohol and drug use in adolescence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 289–293.Google Scholar
  31. Leober, R., Stouthamer-Loeber, M. S., van Kammen, W., & Farrington, D. P. (1991). Initiation, escalation and desistance in juvenile offending and their correlates. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 82, 36–82.Google Scholar
  32. Lewinsohn, P. M., Roberts, R. E., Seeley, J. R., Rohde, P., Gotlib, I. H., & Hops, H. (1994). Adolescent psychopathology:II. psychosocial risk factors for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 302–315.Google Scholar
  33. Lewinsohn, P. M., Rohde, P., & Seeley, J. R. (1998). Major depressive disorder in older adolescents: Prevalence, risk factors and clinical implications. Clinical Psychology Review, 18, 765–794.Google Scholar
  34. McGee, R., Williams, S., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. (2000). A longitudinal study of cannabis use and mental health from adolescence to early adulthood. Addiction, 95, 491-503.Google Scholar
  35. Miller-Johnson, S., Coie, J. D., Terry, R., & Hyman, C. (1998). Comorbidity of conduct and depressive problems at sixth grade: Substance use outcomes across adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 26, 221–232.Google Scholar
  36. Moon, L., Meyer, P., & Grau, J. (1999). Australia’s young people: Their health and well-being 1999. The first report on the health of young people aged 12–24 years by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. AIHW Cat No PHE 19. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.Google Scholar
  37. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2002). Community programs to promote youth development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  38. Newcomb, M. D., & Felix-Ortiz, M. (1992). Multiple protective and risk factors for drug use and abuse: Cross-sectional and prospective findings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 280–296.Google Scholar
  39. Newcomb, M. D., Maddahian, E., Skager, R., & Bentler, P. M. (1987). Substance abuse and psychosocial risk factors among teenagers: Associations with sex, age, ethnicity and type of school. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 13, 413-433.Google Scholar
  40. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Larson, J., & Grayson, C. (1999). Explaining the gender difference in depressive symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1061-1072.Google Scholar
  41. Patton, G., Carlin, J. B., Coffey, C., Wolfe, R., & Bowes, G. (1998). Depression, anxiety and the initiation of smoking: A prospective study over three years. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 1518–1522.Google Scholar
  42. Patton, G., Hibbert, M., Caust, J., Sloman, F., Carlin, J. B., & Bowes, G. (1996). Is smoking associated with depression and anxiety in teenagers? American Journal of Public Health, 86, 225–300.Google Scholar
  43. Pedersen, W. (1991). Mental health, sensation seeking and drug use patterns: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Addiction, 86, 195–204.Google Scholar
  44. Petersen, A. C., Sarigiani, P. A., & Kennedy, R. E. (1991). Adolescent depression: Why more girls? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 20, 247–271.Google Scholar
  45. Pollard, J. A., Catalano, R. F., Hawkins, J. D., & Arthur, M. W. (1997). Development of a school-based survey measuring risk and protective factors predictive of substance abuse, delinquency, and other problem behaviours in adolescent populations. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  46. Pollard, J. A., Hawkins, J. D., & Arthur, M. W. (2003). Risk and protection: are both necessary to understand diverse behavioural outcomes in adolescence? Social Work Research, 23, 145–158.Google Scholar
  47. Rutter, M. (1985). Resilience in the face of adversity: Protective factors and resistance to psychiatric disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 598–611.Google Scholar
  48. Rutter, M. (1987). Temperament, personality, and personality disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 443–458.Google Scholar
  49. Shedler, J., & Block, J. (1990). Adolescent drug use and psychological health: A longitudinal inquiry. American Psychologist, 45, 612–630.Google Scholar
  50. Statacorp (2001). Stata statistical software release. (7.0). College Station, TX, Stata Corporation.Google Scholar
  51. Werner, E. E. (1989). High-risk in young adulthood: A longitudinal study from birth to 32 years. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 59, 72–81.Google Scholar
  52. Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  53. White, H. R., Pandina, R. J., & LaGrange, R. L. (1987). Longitudinal predictors of serious substance use and delinquency. Criminology, 25, 715–740.Google Scholar
  54. Windle, M., & Windle, R. C. (1996). Coping strategies, drinking motives and stressful life events among middle adolescents: Associations with emotional and behavioural problems with academic functioning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 215-226.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lyndal Bond
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • John W. Toumbourou
    • 1
  • Lyndal Thomas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard F. Catalano
    • 3
  • George Patton
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Department of PaediatricsUniversity of MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Department of PaediatricsUniversity of MelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Social Development Research GroupUniversity of WashingtonSeattle
  4. 4.Centre for Adolescent HealthParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations