Objective: An epidemiological study conducted between 1987 and 1989 in a single school district in the southeastern United States investigated the incidence, transition probabilities, and risk factors for major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia in adolescents aged 11 to 16 years.
Method: Diagnoses were based on the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, which was administered to 247 mother-adolescent pairs at 12-month intervals.
Results: One-year MDD and dysthymia incidences were 3.3% (n = 11) and 3.4% (n = 9), respectively. Transition probabilities demonstrated movement from disorder to no disorder over time. Family cohesion (odds ratio = 0.95) was the only significant predictor of incident MDD. No factors were significant for dysthymia. While baseline MDD was a significant risk factor for depression at follow-up, 80% of subjects with baseline MDD did not meet the criteria for diagnosis at follow-up.
Conclusion: Findings suggest perceived family support or cohesion may be more important to adolescent mental health than family structure.