Depressed teens have rocky twenties: Study

Last Updated: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 17:54

Toronto: Depressed teens are more likely to suffer from serious problems such as mental illness and excessive drinking during their twenties than their non-depressed peers, a new study has found.

However, researchers said teenage depression did not appear to significantly reduce employment status, income, the likelihood of marrying or completing a post-secondary degree during early adulthood.

"Our research shows that depressed adolescents are more likely to suffer from numerous problems over the first ten years of adulthood. These include ongoing difficulties with mental illness, alcohol abuse, poor physical health, and inadequate social support networks," said senior author Ian Colman, of the department of epidemiology and community medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Colman said that teenage depression is common, affecting about 8 to 20 per cent of adolescents worldwide and that the transition from adolescence to early adulthood involves many potentially stressful shifts in roles and responsibilities.

As a result large segments of the population can be left starting adulthood in a rocky state, Health Behaviour News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, reported.

Researchers point out that although the study did not show diminished success in the realms of work or marriage for the participants in their twenties, such problems might well arise during the subjects` thirties.

They found that depressed adolescents had 4.9 times the odds of experiencing depression during the follow-up period and were more likely to experience some form of psychological distress and to be taking antidepressants.

Depressed teens had 1.8 times the odds of abusing alcohol and 2.9 times the odds of smoking daily during their twenties. Also, adolescent depression was strongly predictive of migraine headaches and low self-rated health as a young adult.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.


First Published: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 17:54
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