A Scoping Review and Content Analysis of Common Depressive Symptoms of Young People

J Sch Nurs. 2022 Feb;38(1):74-83. doi: 10.1177/10598405211012680. Epub 2021 May 4.


School nurses are the most accessible health care providers for many young people including adolescents and young adults. Early identification of depression results in improved outcomes, but little information is available comprehensively describing depressive symptoms specific to this population. The aim of this study was to develop a taxonomy of depressive symptoms that were manifested and described by young people based on a scoping review and content analysis. Twenty-five journal articles that included narrative descriptions of depressive symptoms in young people were included. A total of 60 depressive symptoms were identified and categorized into five dimensions: behavioral (n = 8), cognitive (n = 14), emotional (n = 15), interpersonal (n = 13), and somatic (n = 10). This comprehensive depression symptom taxonomy can help school nurses to identify young people who may experience depression and will support future research to better screen for depression.

Keywords: content analysis; depression; mental health; scoping review; symptom taxonomy; young people; youth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depression*
  • Humans
  • Young Adult