Date of Award:

2012

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Susan L. Crowley, Ph.D.

Abstract

The depressive disorders are among the most common mental health problems with substantial financial and quality-of-life costs. Depression has generated considerable debate as to the underlying structure and the taxonomy continues to be frequently debated. Adolescents who meet diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder often experience anxiety (and vice versa). Emerging statistical approaches such as latent class analysis (LCA) have utility for understanding the underlying structure of depression as well as the co-occurrence of depression and anxiety. An LCA of adolescents with depression would add to our conceptual understanding of the disorder(s) and facilitate treatments of adolescents with depression and potentially those with co-occurring anxiety symptoms. The current study adds to the body of literature on the latent structure of depression and co-occurring anxiety of a juvenile in-patient sample. LCA was conducted on an in-patient sample of juveniles (N = 722). Analyses yielded six distinct classes or subtypes of depression that were different from each other on overall symptom severity as well as the presence or absence of anhedonia. Results may have implications regarding subtypes of adolescent depression, comorbidity of anxiety, and our understanding of the taxonomic structure of categorical versus dimensional aspects of depression diagnosis. Results suggest subclinical features of anxiety commonly co-occur with depression among juveniles, suggesting a common construct of adolescent distress made up of both depression and anxiety.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on April 10, 2012.

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