Data were drawn from the International Youth Development Study (IYDS), a gender-balanced, multiethnic, statewide representative sample of 7th grade students in Victoria and Washington in 2002 (n = 1,958). Data were collected at ages 13-15. Risk and protective factors spanned demographic, individual, family, peer-group, school and community spheres of influence. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire.
Predictors of age 15 depressive symptoms included female gender, prior depressive symptoms, bullying victimization, and community disorganization. A number of gender interactions also emerged. Poor family management practices and peer rewards for antisocial behavior were less predictive of depression for females than for males. Recognition for prosocial involvement was more protective for females than for males. Risk and protective processes did not differ significantly across the two states.
These findings suggest that early identification of youth with depressive symptoms, along with preventive interventions addressing common risk and protective factors are likely to reduce the burden associated with adolescent depression. Some gender-based adaptations may be needed to boost intervention efficacy for boys. The current findings also suggest that effective prevention programs may be applicable in both Washington and Victoria.