Adolescent depression: Its impact on competence, behavioral problems and academic achievement

Robert M Rossen, Pace University

Abstract

The focus of this research project was to demonstrate that a relationship exists between depressive symptoms and levels of competence, academic achievement and behavioral problems in adolescents. The subjects were 96 adolescents who participated in the North Shore University Hospital-National Institute of Mental Health grant entitled "Psychopathology, Suicidal Behavior and Adolescent Abuse" (1987). They were subjects taken from the control group of the original study and had no history of abuse. The research design consisted of correlations between depression and competence, behavioral problems and academic achievement. A comparison between two groups, the Normal group (N = 74) and the Mild to Severely depressed group (N = 22) was also conducted. These classifications were based on scores from the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck and Steer, 1993).^ It was hypothesized that higher levels of depression in adolescents would result in lower levels of competence, higher levels of overall behavioral problems and higher internalizing behavioral problems. These constructs were measured with the Youth Self Report (Achenbach, 1982) and the Child Behavior Checklist, (Achenbach and Edelbrook, 1983). It was also hypothesized that higher levels of depression in adolescents would result in lower levels of academic achievement. Academic achievement was based on academic grades and standardized test scores.^ The results indicate that the above hypotheses were partially confirmed. The area of competence was found to be significantly negatively correlated with the adolescent's level of depressive symptoms. In regard to total behavioral problems and internalizing behavioral problems, the ratings proved to be significantly positively correlated with the adolescent's level of depression. Externalizing behavioral problems ratings were significantly positively correlated to the adolescent's level of depression. In the area of academic achievement, several academic subjects proved to be significantly negatively correlated with the level of adolescent depression. The between groups research design (which employed t-tests) provided results similar to those reported above.^ This research demonstrates the need for school psychologists to diagnose depressive symptoms amongst the student's they serve. It was found that issues associated with higher levels of depression in adolescents are a lower sense of competence, greater total behavioral problems, greater internalizing behavioral problems and greater externalizing behavioral problems, as well as lower academic grades in major subjects. School personnel need to be alerted to students who demonstrate the above profile. These students are considered at risk for depression. These issues should be explored further with the student to determine if additional intervention is needed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Robert M Rossen, "Adolescent depression: Its impact on competence, behavioral problems and academic achievement" (January 1, 1997). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9726602.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI9726602

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