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Title: Family and social factors associated with depression and anxiety disorders in late adolescent girls
Author: Monck, Elizabeth Mary
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1996
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The study sought to establish the prevalence of self-reported mood disturbance and depressive and anxiety disorders in a community sample of girls aged 15-20 years. It was hypothesised that the onset of depressive/anxiety disorders would be preceded by stressful life events, and be more frequent in girls without strong maternal support. Subsidiary hypotheses concerned depression and anxiety disorders being more frequently found in families with poor personal relations, and in older age-groups. Drawn from the age-sex registers of eight General Practices in North and East London, a sample of 645 girls were approached for a screening interview. Of these, 529 (82.6%) accepted and were seen with their key relatives (92% mothers). Both key relatives and the girls completed self-report questionnaires on depressive and anxious mood, and also completed third-person versions on one another. At the same time they completed self-report and third person questionnaires on attitudes to eating and exercise; this work is not reported in this thesis. A sub-sample of girls with high self-report questionnaire scores and matched low scorers all of whom were living with their mothers was given a second interview: 153 of 176 eligible girls agreed. Girls and mothers were interviewed separately, but at the same time. The girl was given a psychiatric interview to establish ’caseness’ and diagnosis, and mothers and daughters were asked about stressful life events affecting the girl and personal relationships in the family. Using data from the screening interview, self-reported mood disturbance was found in 20.8% of the girls. The second interview established that there were 38 cases of psychiatric disorder, of which 34 were depressive and/or anxiety disorders. The four cases of conduct disorder were dropped from the analysis and the sample was reconstituted in order to obtain representative numbers of girls with high scores on the self-report eating disorders questionnaire. This left a sample of 139 girls with depressive and anxiety disorders and their controls, among whom it was found that depressive disorder was significantly associated with previous stressful life even ts. After statistical adjustment for an error in data collection, the hypothesised moderating effect of maternal support following stressful events was not confirmed for the depressed girls. Maternal depressed mood and the mother’s single parent status or poor quality marriage were independently related to depressive disorders in the daughters, and a confiding relationship with her mother did not moderate these significant effects. The number of girls with anxiety disorders proved to be small, and the hypotheses requiring multivariate analyses could not be tested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available