Identifying Trajectories of Chinese High School Students’ Depressive Symptoms: an Application of Latent Growth Mixture Modeling

  • Caili Liu
  • Yong Wei
  • Yu LingEmail author
  • E. Scott Huebner
  • Yifang Zeng
  • Qin Yang


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.


Adolescent Depressive symptoms Trajectories Longitudinal Latent growth mixture modeling 



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Copyright information

© The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caili Liu
    • 1
  • Yong Wei
    • 2
  • Yu Ling
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Scott Huebner
    • 3
  • Yifang Zeng
    • 4
  • Qin Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of EducationHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Hunan Provincial Education Examination BoardChangshaChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Educational Psychology & LeadershipTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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