Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression in Adolescents: A Developmental Psychopathology Perspective

John R.Z. Abela, Benjamin L. Hankin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Research examining the epidemiology of depression suggests that ado-lescence may be a critical period for understanding the development of this disorder for two reasons. First, although during childhood, sex differences in depression are not reliably found, during the transition from early to middle adolescence (i.e., ages 12-15) sex differences emerge, with girls reporting higher levels of both depressive symptoms (Angold, Erkanli, Silberg, Eaves, and Costello, 2002; Twenge and Nolen-Hoeksema, 2002) and disorders (Costello, Mustillo, Erkanli, Keeler, and Angold, 2003; Hankin et al., 1998) than boys. Second, the majority of individuals who develop depression experience their fi rst clinically signifi cant episode during the transition from middle to late adolescence (i.e., ages 15-18). Within this brief window of time, there is a dramatic sixfold increase in the prevalence of depression (Hankin et al., 1998; Kessler, Avenei, and Merikangas, 2001). Prevalence rates remain at similarly high levels throughout adulthood, with adult depression typically being preceded by adolescent depression (Kim-Cohen, Caspi, and Moffi tt, 2003). Such startling facts strongly argue for the need to identify vulnerability factors to depression in adolescence so that intervention efforts can be initiated prior to the surge in depression rates and before sensitization factors lead to recurrences (Monroe and Harkness, 2005).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Depression in Adolescents
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9781136675867
ISBN (Print)9780203809518
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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