A two-stage epidemiologic study conducted between 1986 and 1988 in the southeastern United States investigated the frequency of major depressive disorder and dysthymia in 12-14 year olds. In stage one, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, a life event schedule, and a family cohesion scale were administered to a community sample of 3,283 adolescents. In stage two, 488 mother-child pairs were interviewed utilizing the Schedule for Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders in School Age Children. Although mean Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale scores were significantly higher in females (25.60) than in males (19.50), prevalence estimates based on a summary of mother and child symptom reports for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, major depressive disorder were similar: 9.04% in males and 8.90% in females. The prevalences of dysthymia were 7.98% in males and 5.00% in females. Previous investigations have reported lower rates and a female preponderance of major depression. Disagreement between mothers and children regarding the presence of symptoms may explain this contradiction. Significant odds ratios were found between major depression and not living with both natural parents (odds ratio (OR) = 3.89), undesirable life events (OR = 1.09), and perceived family cohesion (OR = 0.96). Not living with both natural parents (OR = 14.67) and socioeconomic status (OR = 0.44) were significant correlates of dysthymia.