Age and gender diff erences in depression among children and adolescents from the city of Split

The objective of this study was to explore age and gender diff erences in depression among children and adolescents. We hypothesized that girls would be more depressed than boys would, and that depression would be more pronounced in older age groups. A total of 564 subjects aged 10-18 years took part in the study. The sample consisted of 240 boys and 324 girls, students of elementary and high schools in the city of Split. Depression Scale for Children and Adolescents was used to assess depressive symptomatology. Study results showed elementary school eighth-grade students, i.e. the age corresponding to the beginning of middle adolescence, to have highest overall scores on the Depression scale. Furthermore, signifi cant gender diff erences were recorded in the seventh- and eighth-grade students, with girls having more pronounced depressive symptomatology as compared with boys. Analysis of gender diff erences conducted separately for the emotional and cognitive aspects of depression showed girls to have higher scores only in the emotional aspect of depression, whereas there were no signifi cant gender diff erences in the cognitive component of depression. Above-average scores on the standardized depression scale were achieved by 20.43% of study subjects, with clinically signifi cant results found in 5.68% of them. Eighth-grade girls were found to be the most vulnerable group. In conclusion, there is a need for preventive activities aimed at empowering adolescents to deal with depressive symptoms. As indicated by the results of this study, girls at the end of elementary school are particularly at risk of increased depression. Therefore, it seems important to implement gender-specifi c preventive activities aimed at strengthening self-confi dence and self-esteem of girls and empowering their social and emotional skills that are important for meeting the challenges and developmental tasks of adolescence. Key words: depression; age distribution; gender identity; primary prevention
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 60, No 4, october - december 2016
Authors: Katija Kalebić Jakupčević, Ina Reić Ercegovac
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2016;60:133-9

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