LIFE EVENTS, DEPRESSION AND GENDER: THEIR RELATION WITH SCHOOL ADAPTATION
1 University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
2 University of Coimbra, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The presence of depressive symptoms in adolescence may have adverse effects with an impact on several areas and teenage life contexts, affecting their school performance as well. In addition to depressive symptoms, the environment in school, the negative reactions from teachers and peers, can cause problems in learning (Fröjd, et al. 2008). Research has demonstrated that female gender has a higher number of negative life events and higher levels of depressive symptoms. Empirical evidence suggests that girls are more likely to depress when they are confronted with negative life events of interpersonal content (Cyranowski et al., 2000; Safford et al., 2007).
The present study intends to explore:
i) the relationship between negative life events and gender, age, marital status of parents and social-economic status;
ii) the relationship between negative life events and academic performance;
iii) the relationship between gender and depressive symptomatology;
iv) the relationship between negative life events and depressive symptoms and the moderating effect of gender on that relationship.
The participants were 319 adolescents (217 girls and 102 boys) aged between 13 and 15 years old, attending the 8th and 9th grade in public schools, who participated in a Portuguese study about prevention of adolescent depression. Self-report questionnaires were used to assess negative life events by DHMS - Daily Hassles Microsystem Scale (Seidman, et al., 1995) and depressive symptoms measured by CDI - The Childhood Depression Inventory (Kovacs, 1985).
Results showed that the female gender had higher values on negative life events, particularly in problems with peers and problems at school. Older adolescents had higher values on problems at school as well. Besides, adolescents with separate parents had higher values in problems with peers. Additionally, it was found that adolescents with low socioeconomic status experienced more negative life events compared with adolescents whose socio-economic level is high. Concerning academic performance, higher levels of experienced negative life events were associated with lower academic achievement. Furthermore, these negative life events were predictors of depressive symptoms and no moderating effect of gender on the relationship between negative life events and depressive symptoms was found. Gender was significantly associated with depression, girls showing higher levels of depressive symptoms.
In conclusion, relations between negative life events, gender, age, marital status of parents and social-economic status were found. Negative life events and gender were significantly related with depressive symptomatology in adolescents. The results also revealed that negative life events were predictors of depressive symptoms, however, no moderation effect of gender was found. These findings highlight the impact of the negative life events on depression and the importance of variables associated with school adaptation.
Keywords: School adaptation, negative life events, depressive symptoms, gender, adolescence.