Gender Differences in Adolescent Depression: Social Integration into the Normative School Context

Kurt A. Gore, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas at Austin

This study investigates gender differences in adolescent depression associated with different levels of social integration into the normative high school environment. Previous research stresses the importance of social integration for positive mental health outcomes, but assumes girls are more responsive to social networks. If this is true, gender differences in depression should be weaker in situations of good fit and stronger in situations of bad fit because social integration into the school should be more beneficial for girls and social isolation more risky. To test this assumption, a multilevel model is used to predict CES-D depression scores with data from waves I and II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Independent variables will include both individual- and school-level measures. Fit indexes assess social integration, and cross-level interaction terms (gender * each fit index) detect gender differences.

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Presented in Session 40: Adolescent Mental Health in the U.S.