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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adolescent depression and interpersonal behavior Furnell, Margery D.


Adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to depression. Yet Public health nurses working with large groups of adolescents are often unable to recognize depressed youths due to the lack of simple, reliable screening tools. This exploratory study was undertaken in order to gain information that could be used to develop such a tool. Specifically, the following question was posed: 'Are there modes of relating interpersonally that can be used to distinguish the highly and moderately depressed adolescent from the non-depressed adolescent?' The answer was sought from information obtained from adolescent self-reports on Beck's Depression Inventory and an adapted and pre-tested form of McNair and Lorr's Interpersonal Behavior Inventory. These inventories were administered to twenty-five adolescents who attended a treatment centre for adolescents with emotional problems and seventy seven randomly selected adolescents who attended four Catholic high schools in Greater Vancouver. Adolescents were classified as non-depressed, moderately depressed and highly depressed on the basis of their scores on Beck's Depression Inventory. An analysis of variance was carried out to discover if there was a significant difference in interpersonal behavior scores of non-depressed, moderately depressed and highly depressed adolescents. A simple regression analysis and a multiple step-wise regression analysis was done to see if there was a significant correlation between any interpersonal behavior categories that could distinguish between the non-depressed, moderately depressed, and highly depressed adolescent. The findings supported the overall conclusion: adolescents who exhibit mistrust, competition and detachment most of the time or all of the time and exhibit dominance only some of the time or not all all, may be moderately or highly depressed adolescents. The findings did not support the generally held thesis that suppressed hostility is an important factor in the depressed person.

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