The Longitudinal Association Between Self-esteem and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents: Separating Between-Person Effects from Within-Person Effects

M. Masselink, E. Van Roekel, B. L. Hankin, L. Keijsers, G. M.A. Lodder, J. Vanhalst, M. Verhagen, J. F. Young, A. J. Oldehinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many longitudinal studies have investigated whether self-esteem predicts depressive symptoms (vulnerability model) or the other way around (scar model) in adolescents. The most common method of analysis has been the cross-lagged panel model (CLPM). The CLPM does not separate between-person effects from within-person effects, making it unclear whether the results from previous studies actually reflect the within-person effects or whether they reflect differences between people. We investigated the associations between self-esteem and depressive symptoms at the within-person level, using random intercept cross-lagged panel models (RI-CLPMs). To get an impression of the magnitude of possible differences between the RI-CLPM and the CLPM, we compared the results of both models. We used data from three longitudinal adolescent samples (age range: 7–18 years; study 1: N = 1948; study 2: N = 1455; study 3: N = 316). Intervals between the measurements were 1–1.5 years. Single-paper meta-analyses showed support for small within-person associations from self-esteem to depressive symptoms, but not the other way around, thus only providing some support for the vulnerability model. The cross-lagged associations in the aggregated RI-CLPM and CLPM showed similar effect sizes. Overall, our results show that over 1- to 1.5-year time intervals, low self-esteem may negatively influence depressive symptoms over time within adolescents, but only weakly so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-671
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • depression
  • longitudinal data
  • random intercept cross-lagged panel model
  • self-esteem
  • within-person effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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    Masselink, M., Van Roekel, E., Hankin, B. L., Keijsers, L., Lodder, G. M. A., Vanhalst, J., Verhagen, M., Young, J. F., & Oldehinkel, A. J. (2018). The Longitudinal Association Between Self-esteem and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents: Separating Between-Person Effects from Within-Person Effects. European Journal of Personality, 32(6), 653-671. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2179