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Trajectories of depressive symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood: Chinese Americans versus non-hispanic whites


  • This study was supported by Grant Number P20MD002316 from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis. The authors express their appreciation to Dr. Laura Szalacha and Dr. Nancy Moore for their comments on earlier versions of this article.


We examined age, sex, and race/ethnicity differences in trajectories of depressive symptom from adolescence to early adulthood; we also tested whether socioeconomic status and acculturation were associated with the differences. The findings suggest that adolescents over age 15 had a higher level and faster decline in depressive symptoms than their younger counterparts; females had higher level and a faster decline in depressive symptoms than males. Chinese American females had the highest depressive symptoms sustained across 7 years; Chinese American males over age 15 had higher depressive symptoms than their White male counterparts. Neither socioeconomic status nor acculturation was significantly associated with the differences in the trajectories. Our findings suggest a need for greater attention to Chinese American adolescents' psychological well-being. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 34:176–191, 2011