A longitudinal study of depressive symptomology and self-concept in adolescents

Marjorie Montague, Craig Enders, Samantha Dietz, Jennifer Dixon, Wendy Morrison Cavendish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to investigate the trajectories of depressive symptomology and self-concept in adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 and to determine whether primary school teacher ratings of adaptive and maladaptive behavior predict self-reported depressive symptoms and self-concept in adolescence. This study is part of an ongoing longitudinal study of a school-based sample of students representing a continuum of risk for developing emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD; N = 212). Results indicated a strong relationship between depressive symptoms and self-concept for both initial status and growth over time (i.e., depressive symptoms decreased, whereas self-concept improved). No effect was found for gender on initial status or growth for either construct. However, for self-concept, the growth trajectory indicated a significant effect for risk classification (not at risk, at risk no special education placement, at risk special education placement). Compared with the other classification groups, adolescents in special education at risk for EBD showed a significant decrease in self-concept after age 15, a markedly different trajectory from their peers. Additionally, high internalizing behavior was associated with more depressive symptoms and lower self-concept. Finally, early teacher ratings of adaptive behavior were predictive of both initial status and growth for depressive symptoms, but only initial status for self-concept. Implications for depression prevention and intervention among children and adolescents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Longitudinal research
  • Self-concept
  • Special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


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