The epidemiology and correlates of depressive mood were measured in a representative sample of public high school students in New York State and a subsample matched to their parents. Depressive mood was measured by a self-reported scale validated in a clinical sample. Adolescents with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder scored higher than those with other psychiatric diagnoses. In the general adolescent sample, ex differences in depressive mood paralleled those previously reported for adults, with girls scoring higher than boys. Adolescents reported higher depressive mood than their parents, with the differences greater in daughter-mother than in son-father pairs. If judged by mood differences, adolescence was a stressful period in the life cycle. Lowest levels of adolescent depressive mood correlated with high levels of attachment both to parents and to peers. Sex differences in depressive mood in adolescents may be accounted for by masked depression and increased delinquency among boys as compared with girls.