Identifying Trajectories of Chinese High School Students’ Depressive Symptoms: an Application of Latent Growth Mixture Modeling
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Studies in western countries have identified that the development of depressive symptoms in adolescence can follow different pathways. The goal of the current study was to characterize developmental trajectories of depressive symptoms and variation in trajectories by gender among Chinese high school students. Anonymous surveys were collected from 1023 high school students [51% female; mean age, 16.29 (range, 14–19) years] in Hunan, China. Four distinct longitudinal patterns were identified. The four classes of “Moderately stable” Class, “High persistent” Class, “Low decreasing” Class and “Very Low decreasing” Class accounted for 19.6%, 6.0%, 36.5% and 38.0% of the total sample respectively. Adolescents’ depressive symptoms in the four groups did not fluctuate significantly over time. Moreover, our results suggested that although Chinese females were more likely to be members of all four groups, females were only significantly more likely than males to be members of the “Moderately stable” Class. First, the frequency and stability of adolescent depressive symptoms among Chinese high school students was relatively high compared to mid-adolescents in western countries. Second, trajectories of depressive symptoms in Chinese mid-adolescents showed meaningful heterogeneity related to four latent classes. Finally, Chinese female high school students were more likely to report higher levels of depressive symptoms than male high school students.
KeywordsAdolescent Depressive symptoms Trajectories Longitudinal Latent growth mixture modeling
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