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ERIC Number: ED562085
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 34
Associations between School Connection and Depressive Symptoms from Adolescence through Adulthood: The Moderating Influence of Early Adversity
Markowitz, Anna J.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder worldwide. Conservative estimates Suggest that 20% of Americans will experience depression during their lifetime, inflicting high interpersonal, labor market, and health care costs. Although depression is highly heritable, environmental factors can powerfully influence its development both negatively and positively. A growing body of research has established that school connection, a student's sense of belonging in and relatedness to school, is associated with lower levels of depression and better overall socioemotional health. This study will: (1) identify whether school connection is associated with depressive symptoms in models that account for potential endogeneity; (2) assess whether this association persists from adolescence through early adulthood; and (3) explore whether school connection can serve as a protective factor for youth at risk for depression. Risk for depression is defined using a 3-group categorization of the experience of early adversity: no adversity, stress only, and maltreatment. The impact of school connection is explored separately for each group. Data are drawn from Waves 1 through 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a large, nationally representative dataset collected from 1994-2008. The Add Health surveys collected data on respondents from adolescence through adulthood, and assessed a variety of developmental experiences and outcomes. No intervention was conducted; rather this study assesses student reported connection to school and its long-term correlates "absent" intervention. This was a secondary data analysis; the author used multiple regressions with robust controls (see Data Analysis) including family income-to-needs ratio, and youth's reported relationship with his/her mother, sexuality, immigrant status, cognitive ability, gender, age, and race. The present study suggests that school connection can be particularly beneficial for youth who have experienced early stress, and that this unique benefit emerges in early adulthood. Importantly, though, this protective effect does not extend to youth who experienced early maltreatment, suggesting that youth in extreme circumstances may need more substantial intervention than a high quality school alone can provide. Tables and figures are appended.
Descriptors: Depression (Psychology), Correlation, Student School Relationship, At Risk Persons, Environmental Influences, Young Adults, Adolescents, Resilience (Psychology), Stress Variables, Child Abuse, Surveys, Longitudinal Studies, Multiple Regression Analysis, Family Income, Parent Child Relationship, Mothers, Sexuality, Immigrants, Cognitive Ability, Gender Differences, Age Differences, Racial Differences, Ethnic Groups
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health