Adolescent risk factors for episodic and persistent depression in adulthood. A 16-year prospective follow-up study of adolescents

J Affect Disord. 2008 Feb;106(1-2):123-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.06.001. Epub 2007 Jul 19.


Background: We examined mid-adolescent psychosocial problems as risk factors for subsequent depression up to adulthood proper, and differences in these for episodic and persistent depression.

Methods: In a 16-year follow-up of an urban Finnish community cohort (547 males and 714 females) from age 16 years risk factors for subsequent depression (S-BDI) were studied. Data were collected with a classroom questionnaire at 16 years and a postal questionnaire at 22 and 32 years. Differences in predictors for episodic depression (only at age of 22 or 32 y) and persistent depression (both at 22 and 32 y) were studied using logistic and multinomial regression analyses.

Results: Mid-adolescent depressive symptoms predicted persistent and female sex episodic depression. Low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with academic achievement, problems with the law, having no dating experiences, and parental divorce all predicted both episodic and persistent depression.

Limitations: We had two assessment points in adulthood, but no information about depression between these.

Conclusions: The associations between mid-adolescent psychosocial problems and subsequent depression extended up to adulthood proper, somewhat differently for episodic and persistent depression. Preventive efforts should be focused towards young people at risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aspirations, Psychological
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Divorce / psychology
  • Divorce / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors