Pathways to depression by age 16 years: Examining trajectories for self-reported psychological and somatic phenotypes across adolescence.


BACKGROUND: Sex differences in rates of depression emerge during adolescence. However, it is unclear whether symptom patterns and trajectories differ significantly according to gender in youth. Barriers to research include the fact that most self-report tools are weighted towards psychological rather than somatic symptoms. METHODS: Data were collected on symptoms of depression in about 1800 individuals at ages 12, 14 and 16 years. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to examine the trajectory of psychological and somatic phenotypes and self-reported depression caseness over time. RESULTS: At age 12, 24% of participants met criteria for self-reported depression caseness. Although there was only a small incremental increase in the prevalence over time (about 5%), 57% of participants met criteria for self-reported depression caseness at least once. Generic symptoms at age 12 were associated with depression longitudinally, although early transition to caseness was reported in females only. Categorization as a psychological phenotype at age 12 predicted depression at age 14 and/or 16 years, especially in females. The somatic phenotype was more common in males, but showed a weaker association with self-reported depression caseness over time. LIMITATIONS: Depression was assessed by self-report; only 30% of participants had ratings for age 12, 14 and 16. CONCLUSIONS: Although sub-threshold psychological and somatic syndromes often co-occur in cases of self-reported depression in adolescence, longitudinally they may represent independent symptom trajectories. However, it is important to remember that self-reported depression is indicative of, but not confirmation of a depressive episode that meets diagnostic criteria.

Authors Scott, Jan; Davenport, Tracey A; Parker, Richard; Hermens, Daniel F; Lind, Penelope A; Medland, Sarah E; Wright, Margaret J; Martin, Nicholas G; Gillespie, Nathan A; Hickie, Ian B
Pages 1-6
Volume 230
Date 1/12/2017
Grant ID 1031119
Funding Body NHMRC
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