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Potential Causal Relationship Between Depressive Symptoms and Academic Achievement in the Hawaiian High Schools Health Survey Using Contemporary Longitudinal Latent Variable Change Models
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    22268606
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC3339048
  • Funding:
    #1U49/CE000749-01/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R24 MH057079-01A1/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    R24 MH57079-A1/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    R24MH5015-01/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    R49/CCR918619-05/PHS HHS/United States
    RR0361-06S1/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    There is a relatively consistent negative relationship between adolescent depressive symptoms and educational achievement (e.g., grade point average [GPA]). However, the causal direction for this association is less certain due to the lack of longitudinal data with both indicators measured across at least 2 time periods and due to the lack of application of more sophisticated contemporary statistical techniques. We present multivariate results from a large longitudinal cohort-sequential study of high school students (N = 7,317) with measures of self-reported depressive symptoms and self-reported GPAs across multiple time points (following McArdle, 2009, and McArdle, Johnson, Hishinuma, Miyamoto, & Andrade, 2001) using an ethnically diverse sample from Hawai'i. Contemporary statistical techniques included bivariate dynamic structural equation modeling (DSEM), multigroup ethnic and gender DSEMs, ordinal scale measurement of key outcomes, and imputation for incomplete longitudinal data. The findings suggest that depressive symptoms affect subsequent academic achievement and not the other way around, especially for Native Hawaiians compared with female non-Hawaiians. We further discuss the scientific, applied, and methodological-statistical implications of the results, including the need for further theorizing and research on mediating variables. We also discuss the need for increased prevention, early intervention, screening, identification, and treatment of depressive symptoms and disorders. Finally, we argue for utilization of more contemporary methodological-statistical techniques, especially when violating parametric test assumptions.