Depressive symptoms and anger and aggression in Russian adolescents
AuthorRuchkin, Vladislav; Stickley, Andrew; Koposov, Roman Alexandriovich; Sukhodolsky, D; Isaksson, Johan
Research among adolescents exploring the association between depressive symptoms and aggression has produced inconsistent findings. This study investigated the prevalence of clinically significant (current major depressive episode) and subthreshold depressive symptoms in a general population sample of adolescents from Northern Russia and explored their association with aggression and anger, while controlling for comorbid mental health problems. The sample consisted of 2600 participants, aged 13–17 years (59.5% female; 95.7% ethnic Russian). Symptoms of a current major depressive episode, types of anger and aggression (anger rumination, trait anger, physical, verbal and social aggression) and comorbid problems (posttraumatic stress, alcohol use, anxiety, and hyperactivity/impulsivity) were assessed by means of self-reports. The prevalence of a clinically significant depressive episode in the past month was 3.5%, while for subthreshold depression it was 21.6%. All anger and aggression variables, as well as comorbid problems increased together with increasing levels of depression. The association between overt aggressive behavior and depression was primarily explained by comorbid mental health problems, whereas anger rumination and social aggression had more direct associations with depression, independent of comorbidity. Among adolescents with depression, boys reported higher levels of social and verbal aggression and of anger rumination than girls. The results of this study suggest that interventions aiming to reduce aggressive behavior in adolescents should consider depression and its comorbid conditions.