Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 365–372

The Association Between Family Factors and Depressive Disorders in Adolescents

  • Cecilia A. Essau


The main aim of this study was to examine the familial factors (parental psychopathology and attachment to parents) in depressed adolescents. Another aim was to compare level of psychosocial impairment, use of mental health services, suicidal ideation and attempt, and the clinical features of depression (e.g., severity and age of onset) among depressed adolescents with depressed parent(s) with those whose parent(s) do not have any depression. Result showed that the adolescent depression was significantly associated with an elevated rate of having a depressed mother. Perceived level of attachment to parents, as measured using the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment, was significantly lower among depressed adolescents than among adolescents without any psychiatric disorders. Depressed adolescents with depressed parents reported significantly higher suicidal ideation and had more recurrent depressive episodes than depressed adolescents with nondepressed parent(s). Our results imply the importance of shifting our focus from universal programs to family-based prevention and intervention programs for depression.

familial factors depression adolescents comorbidity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia A. Essau

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