Does Family Structure Play a Role in Depression in Adolescents Admitted to Psychiatric Inpatient Care?

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2016 Dec;47(6):918-924. doi: 10.1007/s10578-015-0622-3.


We examined whether adolescents' family structure associate with depression in a clinical sample of 508 adolescents (age 13-17 years) treated in psychiatric hospital between April 2001 and March 2006. Psychiatric disorders of adolescents were based on the K-SADS-PL-interview. Adolescents with depression were characterized by a single parent family background (58 %), but less commonly by a child welfare placement (37 %). Depression in adolescents was significantly related to female gender and a single parent family background, but less significantly related to comorbid psychotic or conducts disorders. The association between family structure and depression presents a challenge to mental health services. Early screening for depression in adolescents admitted for psychiatric treatment from "at risk" family types is important to enhance their future wellbeing and coping strategies.

Keywords: Adolescent; Blended family; Depression; Mental disorders; Nuclear family; Single parent family.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / psychology
  • Depression* / diagnosis
  • Depression* / etiology
  • Depression* / psychology
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders* / psychology
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Psychopathology
  • Sex Factors
  • Single-Parent Family / psychology*