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A Competency-based Model of Child Depression: A Longitudinal Study of Peer, Parent, Teacher, and Self-evaluations


Requests for reprints to: David Cole, Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, U.S.A.


In a two-wave longitudinal study of third and sixth graders (N= 617), we obtained self-reports of depression and peer, teacher, parent, and self-reports of competence in five domains: academic, social, attractiveness, conduct, and athletic. Competency evaluations by others predicted change in self-perceived competence over time for girls, but not for boys. Depression predicted change in self-perceived competence over time for boys but not for girls. Among girls, the relative importance of parent, teacher, and peer appraisals shifted from third to sixth grade. For both boys and girls, self-perceptions of competence predicted change in depression scores over time. Furthermore, self-perceived competencies mediated the relation between competency appraisals by others and children's self-reported depression. Results are interpreted in light of a competency-based model of child depression.

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