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Title: Exploring the relationship between depressive symptoms and attainment at school
Author: Riglin, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 9089
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Rates of depressive symptoms and disorder increase during adolescence and these are associated with a range of negative outcomes both in adolescence and adulthood. One possible pathway to poor outcomes is via low attainment at school. However the association between depressive symptoms and attainment is poorly understood. This thesis explored this association. First, a meta-analysis was conducted on associations between depressive symptoms and subsequent attainment (chapter 2). This found small but significant associations, as well as significant heterogeneity of effect sizes between studies. Second, the temporal direction of this association was investigated using a cross-lagged design (chapter 4). This found depressive symptoms to be associated with a decline in attainment over time. Third, possible mediators of this association were investigated in a 3-stage study design (chapter 5). Low school connectedness, concentration problems, and stressful life events were found to mediate associations between depressive symptoms at baseline and low attainment at follow-up. These studies identified gender, co-occurring conduct problems, and cognitive ability as sources of heterogeneity in the association between depressive symptoms and subsequent low attainment. These sources of heterogeneity were then further investigated. First, latent profile analysis was used to investigate depressive subgroups based on co-occurring conduct problems and symptom severity. Subgroups were identified and there was some evidence of differing associations with attainment and in aetiology. Second, higher cognitive ability was found to buffer the effects of stress on depressive symptoms and disorder in girls (chapter 7) as well as the effects of stress on attainment (chapter 5). Taken together, these findings advance understanding of the association between depressive symptoms and attainment at school. They also suggest specific groups with depressive symptoms that may merit special consideration (e.g. pupils with conduct problems or low cognitive ability) and pathways of importance (e.g. school connectedness).
Supervisor: Rice, Fran Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available