Depression Essay

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Risk factors and protective factors in adolescents with depression| |
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Tanya Vassos16514793Word count: 1,978La Trobe University,Melbourne|

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Risk factors and protective factors in adolescents with depression
Adolescence has been found to be a period of high risk for the development of depression. A depressive disorder is present when a depressed mood or lack of motivation and pleasure in usual activities in everyday life is continuously present, whilst also being accompanied by symptoms such as loss of appetite, changes in sleep and weight, decreased feelings of self worth and in severe cases, thoughts of death (Hauentstein, 2002). Depression is the most common depressive disorder in adolescence (Hauenstein, 2002). It is one of the leading causes of substance abuse and suicide in Australia, which has caused suicide rates to triple in adolescent males and doubling in adolescent females in the last 30 years (Glover, Burns, Butler & Patton, 1998). Additionally, depression worsens with the age of the adolescent, as Glover et al. (1998) found that it increased from 13% in year 7 students to 22% in year 10 students. Depression can also have a detrimental effect to an adolescents education, health, employment opportunities and development of family and social relationships (Glover et al., 1998).

Between 10% to 15% of adolescents with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) will develop bipolar disorder as mania is continuously present (Hauenstein, 2002). Mania is described as an irritable or extroverted mood, accompanied by a lack of sleep, inflated self-esteem and being extremely talkative (Hauenstein, 2002). Manic episodes usually follow the depressive phase of the disorder. It is essential that early intervention for mental disorders in adolescence is implemented to be able to achieve fast and effective treatment in order to reduce behavioural problems, social and emotional issues, and to ultimately provide the adolescent with better mental health related outcomes for the long-term (Littlefield, 2008).

One of the most studied risk factors associated with adolescent depression is relationships with their parents (Field, Diego & Sanders, 2001). It has been reported that parents of depressed adolescents tend to be less caring, more negative and less supportive (Field et al., 2001). In a study conducted by Sheeber, Hops, Andrews, Alpert & Davis (1998), parent-adolescent interactions were videotaped, and it was shown that parents who had depressed adolescents increased their facilitative behaviour in response to the depressive behaviour demonstrated by the adolescent, therefore suggesting that the parents subconsciously were reinforcing the depressive behaviour (Field et al., 2001). Fields et al., (2001) found that depressed adolescents experienced close to no physical affection with their parents and their verbal relationship with parents was non-existent.

Attachment theory provides a valuable example in understanding how important the role of parent-child relationships play in regards to depression (Armsden, McCauley, Greenberg, Burke & Mitchell, 1990). Comfort, security and protection from the parent influence the child's behaviour right through to adolescence and adulthood (Tamplin, Goodyer & Herbert, 1998). A child who experiences insecure attachment is more likely to perceive the world as threatening, thus showing less competence and helplessness, leading to depressive behaviours (Armsden et al., 1990).

Parental depression is another risk factor that affects an adolescents depressive behaviour (Fields et al., 2001). In Shiner & Marmostein's (1998) study, 47% of adolescents with depression had depressed mothers, which further lead to an increased risk of medical problems and in some cases, hospitalizing the adolescents suffering depression (Fields et al., 2001). The characteristics that come along with poor parent relations could ultimately lead to difficulty in school and...
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