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Differences in depression in adolescent girls and boys

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What factors cause greater depression in adolescent girls than boys? Four models assess the contribution of multiple factors.

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Four models that seek to account for gender differences in adolescent depression are the three considered by Nolen-Hoeksema and Girgus (1994)and the elaborated cognitive vulnerability-transactional stress theory proposed by Hankin and Abramson (2001).

Nolen-Hoeksema and Girgus (1994) consider whether factors associated with the emergence of gender differences in depression in adolescence are:
i. not present as risk factors earlier in gender development (model 1),
ii.if there are different factors that cause depression in girls and boys (model 2).
iii. or if they are already present as risk factors earlier in gender development (model 3),

It reviews studies on: dependence on relationships; causal attributions and learned helplessness; instrumental traits; ruminative coping; aggression; dominance in groups; hormonal changes at puberty; body dissatisfaction; rape and sexual abuse; parental and peer expectations and adherence to gender roles.

Model 1: The evidence that the factors that cause gender difference in depression become more prevalent in adolescence is poor. Gender differences in assertiveness, instrumentality, coping and interaction styles, which lead to depression, are established in childhood before depression emerges. There is little evidence biological changes cause depression. But, girls' body changes are devalued by society relative to body changes in boys. Girls face more ...

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