In a stratified random and representative sample of 2,560 13- to 14-year-old Norwegian girls and boys, depressive symptoms were assessed by means of the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ). The MFQ showed a good internal consistency (alpha), and test-retest correlations (r) for three-week and three-month intervals were 0.84 and 0.80 respectively. Convergent and discriminative validity were also assessed. The mean total MFQ score for the whole sample was 10.6 (SD 9.5). The results showed a significant sex by age interaction effect in that girls increased their mean total MFQ sum score by age while the boys' scores decreased slightly. Reports of unattractiveness, restlessness, indecisiveness and transient feelings of low mood were common in the total sample, while unhappiness, irritability, self-dislike and concentration problems were common among high-scoring subjects. Girls experienced more often lowered mood, were more concerned with their appearance and had more self-depreciatory notions than boys, while boys more often than girls had lower school satisfaction. Girls were preponderant among the high-scoring subjects. The results of logistic regression analyses showed that concentration problems were the strongest predictor of high scores. The findings are discussed in view of similar epidemiological studies in which DSM-IV criteria have been used in the assessment of depressive symptoms and disorders among adolescents.