Section 52
Chapter 51,387

Adolescent depressive symptomatology and young adult educational attainment: an examination of gender differences

Needham, B.L.

Journal of Adolescent Health: Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 45(2): 179-186


ISSN/ISBN: 1879-1972
PMID: 19628145
DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.015
Accession: 051386099

To examine the association between depressive symptomatology during adolescence and educational attainment in young adulthood and to determine whether this association varies by gender. This study uses data from the first and third waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Symptoms associated with depression are assessed at Wave 1 with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Educational attainment is assessed at Wave 3. Measures include failure to complete high school and failure to enter college (among high school graduates). The analytic sample contains 14,232 respondents aged 11-21 years at Wave 1 and aged 18-28 years at Wave 3. Approximately half the sample is female. Adjusting for individual and family-level characteristics, depressive symptomatology during adolescence is associated with increased odds of failure to complete high school, but only for girls. Among high school graduates of both genders, depressive symptomatology is associated with failure to enter college. This study offers support for the hypothesis that mental health problems experienced early in the life course impair status attainment.

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