Reciprocal associations between early adolescent antisocial behavior and depressive symptoms: A longitudinal study in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, United States Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose:Reciprocal prospective associations between adolescent antisocial behavior and depressive symptoms were examined. Methods:Seventh grade students (average age 13 years; N=2,314/2,348) were surveyed (T1), and then followed-up 12 (T2) and 24 months (T3) later, using the same methods in Washington State and Victoria, Australia. Results:Negative binomial regressions showed antisocial behavior (T1, T2) did not prospectively predict depressive symptoms (T2, T3). T1 multivariate predictors for T2 depressive symptoms included female gender (incident rate ratio [IRR] = 1.70), prior depressive symptoms (IRR = 1.06), alcohol use (IRR = 1.13), family conflict (IRR = 1.13), antisocial peers (IRR = 1.08) and bullying victimization (IRR = 1.06). Depressive symptoms (T1, T2) did not predict antisocial behavior (T2, T3). T1 multivariate predictors for T2 antisocial behavior included female gender (IRR = .96), age (IRR = .97), prior antisocial behavior (IRR = 1.32), alcohol use (IRR = 1.04), antisocial peers (IRR = 1.11) and academic failure (IRR = 1.03). Conclusions:Depressive symptoms and antisocial behaviors showed considerable predictive stability in early adolescence but were not reciprocally related. Prevention and intervention strategies in adolescence may benefit by targeting common predictors such as alcohol, peer interactions and early symptoms for depression and antisocial behavior.

publication date

  • 2018