• adolescents;
  • depression;
  • family disruption;
  • peer relationship;
  • school connectedness

Aims:  The aim of the present study was to gain insight into the prevalence of depression and its association with self-esteem, family, peer and school factors in a large-scale representative Taiwanese adolescent population.

Methods:  A total of 12 210 adolescent students were recruited into the present study. Subjects with a score >28 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies' Depression Scale were defined as having significant depression; the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Adolescent Family and Social Life Questionnaire and Family C-APGAR Index were applied to assess subjects' self-esteem, family, peer and school factors. The association between depression and correlates were examined on t-test and χ2 test. The significant factors were further included in logistic regression analysis.

Results:  Among 9586 participants (response rate: 86.3%), the prevalence of depression was 12.3%. The risk factors associated with depression in univariate analysis included female gender, older age, residency in urban areas, lower self-esteem, disruptive parental marriage, low family income, family conflict, poorer family function, less satisfaction with peer relationships, less connectedness to school, and poor academic performance. After adjusting the effects of sex, age and location, only subjects with lower self-esteem, higher family conflict, poorer family function, lower rank and decreased satisfaction in their peer group, and less connectedness to school were prone to depression on logistic regression.

Conclusion:  The prevalence of depression is high in Taiwanese adolescents, and the multiple factors of family, peer, school and individuals are associated with adolescent depression. The factors identified in the present study may be helpful when designing and implementing preventive intervention programs.