Co-occurrence of aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms in early adolescence: A longitudinal multi-informant study

D. Van der Giessen, S. Branje, G. Overbeek, T. Frijns, P.A.C. van Lier, H.M. Koot, W. Meeus

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction Aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms co-occur frequently during adolescence. The failure model argues that the onset of aggressive behavior is more likely to precede the onset of depressive symptoms, whereas the acting-out model states that depressed mood predicts subsequent aggressive behavior. However, few longitudinal studies have examined with fully recursive models the temporal ordering of aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms during early adolescence. Objective Therefore, this study examined the bidirectional associations between aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms during early adolescence, using a multi-informant cross-lagged panel model. Gender differences were also investigated. Method We used data from three waves of questionnaire data that were annually collected among 497 early adolescents (56.9% boys) and their parents, thereby covering an age range from 12 to 15. Adolescents reported on their depressive symptoms and the parents reported on the adolescents' aggressive behavior. Results Cross-lagged path analyses showed that early adolescents' aggressive behavior predicted subsequent depressive symptoms, but early adolescents' depressive symptoms did not predict aggressive behavior. Findings were similar for boys and girls. Conclusion Thus, our results provide support for the failure model and suggest that reducing aggressive behavior at the start of adolescence might reduce the risk for subsequent depressive symptoms. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)193-201
JournalRevue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology
Issue number63
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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