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Is depression a risk factor for adolescent offending? A meta-analytic review

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
The literature is mixed about whether depression is a risk or protective factor for violence and general offending in adolescents. A meta-analytic review was conducted on 29 studies reporting on 27 unique prospective samples, with a total of 97,316 participants. The majority of samples were community (non-offender) or population samples (77.8%, k = 21), with a smaller proportion being justice-involved (e.g., incarcerated, probation, or history of arrest) samples (22.2%, k = 6). Overall, depression was associated with an increased risk for general offending (OR = 1.58, p < .001), and violent offending (OR = 1.45, p < .001). For community adolescents, depression was a significant risk factor for general offending; however, in justice-involved youth depression was not a significant risk factor. Gender, study quality, publication year, and country of publication did not moderate any of the results.
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Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Viljoen, Jodi L.
Member of collection
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