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Role of Bullying in Depressive Symptoms From Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood - A Growth Mixture Model

NCJ Number
Journal of Affective Disorders Volume: 207 Dated: January 2017 Pages: 1-8
Date Published
September 2016
8 pages
This study sought to identify trajectories of depressive symptoms in adolescence and emerging adulthood, using a school-based sample of adolescents assessed over a five-year period, and it also examined whether bullying and cyberbullying victimization and perpetration significantly predicted depressive symptom trajectories.
Data were obtained from a sample of 1,042 high-school students. The sample had a mean age of 15.09 years (SD=.79), was 56.0 percent female, and was racially diverse: 31.4 percent Hispanic, 29.4 percent White, and 27.9 percent African-American. Data were examined using growth mixture modeling. Four trajectories of depressive symptoms were identified, including those with a mild trajectory of depressive symptoms, an increasing trajectory of depressive symptoms, an elevated trajectory of depressive symptoms, and a decreasing trajectory of depressive symptoms. Results indicated that bullying victimization and cyberbullying victimization differentially predicted depressive-symptom trajectories across adolescence; however, bullying and cyberbullying perpetration did not. These findings may assist school personnel in identifying students' likely trajectory of depressive symptoms and determining where depression prevention and treatment services may be needed. Study limitations included reliance on self-reports of bullying perpetration and a limited consideration of external factors that may impact the course of depression. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: September 1, 2016