Trajectories of Adolescent Depression and Gender/Racial Disparity

Lin Wang, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper attempts to understand the trajectories of adolescent depression and gender/racial disparities. I conduct data analysis using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. I use growth curve models that trace individual depression trajectories over different ages employing a measurement that is comparable across gender/race. I find that depression increases at early adolescence and decreases at late adolescence. This pattern is consistently found among both males and females. Females are found to be significantly disadvantaged in depression when compared to males for all races. Racial disparity, unclear in previous literature, is clarified in this study. Minority groups do encounter greater levels of depression, ad compared to their white counterparts, female minorities face greater disadvantages compared to male minorities. However, in spite of gender and racial gaps, after the respondents enter their 20s, the disparities are greatly reduced, as the depression overall has decreased for all groups.

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Presented in Session 140: Social Context and Mental Health