ChildStats.gov—Forum on Child and Family Statistics
faces of children
Home  |  About the Forum  |  Publications  |  Help
Search

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

Adolescent Depression

Depression has a significant impact on adolescent development and well-being.136 Adolescent depression can adversely affect school and work performance, impair peer and family relationships, and exacerbate the severity of other health conditions such as asthma and obesity.137, 138, 139 Depressive episodes often persist, recur, or continue into adulthood.140 Youth who have had a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the past year are at greater risk for suicide and are more likely than other youth to initiate alcohol and other drug use, experience concurrent substance use disorders, and smoke daily.141, 142, 143

Indicator HEALTH4.A: Percentage of youth ages 12–17 who experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year by age and gender, 2004–2015
Indicator HEALTH4.A: Percentage of youth ages 12–17 who experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year by age and gender, 2004–2015

NOTE: MDE is defined as a period of at least 2 weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities plus at least four additional symptoms of depression (such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and feelings of self-worth) as described in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health..

Indicator HEALTH4.B: Percentage of receiving treatment for depression among youth ages 12–17 with at least one MDE in the past year by gender, 2004–2015
Indicator HEALTH4.B: Percentage of receiving treatment for depression among youth ages 12–17 with at least one MDE in the past year by gender, 2004–2015

NOTE: Treatment is defined as seeing or talking to a medical doctor or other professional and/or using prescription medication in the past year for depression. Respondents with unknown treatment data were excluded.

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health..

  • In 2015, about 12.5 percent of the population ages 12–17 had at least one MDE during the past year, a higher prevalence than that reported in 2004 (9.0 percent) and each year since then. Moreover, 19.5 percent of females ages 12–17 had an MDE in 2015, a higher prevalence than that reported in 2004 (13.1 percent).
  • In each year between 2004 and 2015, the prevalence of MDE among youth ages 12–17 was more than twice as high among females (ranging from 11.7 to 19.5 percent) as among males (ranging from 4.3 to 5.8 percent).
  • The prevalence of MDE in 2015 was lowest in youth ages 12–13 (7.8 percent), compared with youth ages 14–15 (13.8 percent) and youth ages 16–17 (15.5 percent).
  • The percentage of youth with MDE in the past year receiving treatment for depression remained stable between 2004 (40.3 percent) and 2015 (39.3 percent). Treatment was higher among females (40.3 percent) than among males (36.3 percent) in 2015.

table icon HEALTH4A HTML Table | HEALTH4B HTML Table | HEALTH4C HTML Table

136 Mojtabai, R., Olfson, M., & Han, B. (2016). National trends in the prevalence and treatment of depression in adolescents and young adults. Pediatrics, 138 (6).

137 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2008). The NSDUH report: Major depressive episode among youths aged 12 to 17 in the United States: 2004 to 2006. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies. Retrieved from https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2009115665.xhtml

138 Van Lieshout, R. J., & MacQueen, G. (2008). Psychological factors in asthma. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, 4 (1), 12–28.

139 Goodman, E., & Whitaker, R. C. (2007). A prospective study of the role of depression in the development and persistence of adolescent obesity. Pediatrics, 110 (3), 497–504.

140 Weissman, M. M., Wolk, S., Goldstein, R. B., Moreau, D., Adams, P., Greenwald, S., & Wickramaratne, P. (1999). Depressed adolescents grown up. Journal of the American Medical Association, 282, 1701–1713.

141 Shaffer, D., Gould, M. S., Fisher, P., Trautman, P., Moreau, D., Kleinman, M., & Flory, M. (1996). Psychiatric diagnosis in child and adolescent suicide. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 339–348. Retrieved from http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/53/4/339

142 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2007). The NSDUH report: Depression and the initiation of alcohol and other drug use among youths aged 12 to 17. Rockville, MD: Author.

143 Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51). Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/.