In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Adolescent Depression

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Journals
  • Diagnosis and Assessment
  • Epidemiology and Prevalence
  • Etiological Theories
  • Risk Factors
  • Prevention

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section

  • Rare and Orphan Diseases and Social Work Practice
  • Social Work Practice with Transgender and Gender Expansive Youth
  • Unaccompanied Immigrant and Refugee Children
  • Find more forthcoming articles...


Social Work Adolescent Depression
Jacqueline Corcoran
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 November 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0244


Rates of depression increase during adolescence, putting youth at possible risk for suicide, future episodes, and impaired functioning in multiple life domains. Diagnosis and Assessment, Epidemiology and Prevalence, Risk Factors, Treatment, and Prevention are addressed in this entry. Although depression in children is relatively rare, in adolescence the incidence of depression increases considerably, with a rate of about 5.7 percent, although studies vary. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM (American Psychiatric Association 2013, cited under Diagnosis and Assessment), describes and categorizes mental disorders and is widely used by mental health professionals in the United States. The depressive disorders that pertain to adolescents include major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation. Major depressive disorder describes at least a two-week period during which a person experiences a depressed mood or loss of interest in nearly all life activities, with five or more symptom categories being represented. Persistent depressive disorder represents a general personality style featuring ongoing symptoms that are similar to, but less intense than, those of major depression. A new diagnosis created in the fifth edition of the DSM, (the DSM-5) is disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which is a twelve-month pattern of behavior that is experienced daily, consisting of temper outbursts and irritable and angry mood starting before the age of ten. The system used outside of the United States and worldwide for classifying both mental health and medical conditions is the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), published by the World Health Organization (see World Health Organization 1992, cited under Diagnosis and Assessment). The depressive disorders and their criteria are similar between the, with some minor differences.

Reference Works

For an overview of all aspects of depression in youth—epidemiology, assessment, comorbidity, risk factors (biological and psychosocial), treatment, and prevention—two edited handbooks, Nolen-Hoeksema and Hilt 2009 (for adolescents specifically) and Abela and Hankin 2008 (for both children and adolescents), provide excellent, comprehensive information, with chapters written by experts in the field. There is considerable overlap between these two volumes in terms of contributing authors and content.

  • Abela, John R. Z., and Benjamin L. Hankin, eds. 2008. Handbook of depression in children and adolescents. New York: Guilford.

    This edited book is discussed within the context of developmental psychopathology, which is an attempt to understand the process of abnormal development and its interplay with normal development, taking into account individual biological and psychological systems within the social ecology. This book covers the gamut of depressive disorders in youth, including epidemiology, assessment, comorbidities, theories, risk factors, intervention, and prevention. See pp. 103–123 in particular.

  • Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan, and Lori M. Hilt, eds. 2009. Handbook of depression in adolescents. New York: Routledge.

    This dense handbook compiles in one volume aspects of epidemiology, assessment, comorbidity, risk factors (biological and psychosocial), treatment, and prevention specifically for adolescents with depression. Similar in authorship of chapters to Abela and Hankin 2008.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.