Purpose: The aim of the present study was to examine whether early adolescent major depressive disorder was associated with negative health outcomes in young adulthood after controlling for depression at the time of follow-up. In addition, indicators of medical and social costs associated with these health consequences were measured.
Methods: A total of 705 adolescents participating in a longitudinal study of children varying in risk for depression due to maternal depression were assessed for a history of depression at age 15 years, depressive disorders at age 20, and a variety of health outcomes at age 20.
Results: Results showed that even after controlling for the effects of concurrent depression at age 20, early adolescent depression continued to be associated with poorer interviewer-rated health, poorer self-perceived general health, higher health care utilization and increased work impairment due to physical health, although not with limitations to physical functioning or the presence of chronic medical conditions.
Conclusions: Depression during early adolescence has consequences for health and associated costs during young adulthood. The implications of these findings for screening and treatment of adolescent depression are discussed.