DEPRESSION AND VICTIMIZATION AMONG GIRLS: WHERE DOES ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FIT IN? Katie Sylvester New York University Dr. Elise Cappella for your dedication to my project and access to this data set. Research Grants: Spencer Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Corp. All research assistants who collected the data. Research participants: Schools, teachers, and students. As girls transition to adolescence, they experience an increase in depressive symptoms. During adolescence twice as many girls as boys suffer from depressive disorders. Peer relationships become increasingly important and complex. Early interventions targeting girls might reduce symptoms and diagnoses of depression in adolescence. Broad range of aggressive behaviors and peer conflicts (e.g., malicious rumor spreading, threats). Girls become increasingly engaged in subtle and indirect peer conflicts that involve intentional harm through the manipulation of social relationships. Creates instability and conflict within one’s immediate peer context. Depressive symptoms are closely linked to experiences of aggression victimization. Depressed children exhibit behaviors that signal to others that they will not be successful at defending themselves if attacked . Girls who are victimized are likely to internalize their problems and experience emotional distress. As a result, there seems to be a bidirectional relation between victimization and depression. Depressive Symptoms Aggression Victimization Achievement differences favoring girls emerge by the end of elementary school. Academic achievement is intertwined with internalizing problems and social relationships. Children who experience psychosocial difficulties often experience concurrent academic difficulties. Poor social experiences are linked to poor academic achievement. Strained relationships with teachers and peers lowers motivation and generates poor achievement. The presence of cognitive or academic skills might protect children from poor mental or social experiences. Positive academic experiences might protect children from negative consequences of depression and victimization. Ecological Perspective Within micro-level context Developmental Cascades Model Developmentally salient Spillover effects Academic Achievement Depressive Symptoms Social Relationships What is the relation between depressive symptoms and aggression victimization? What is the relation between academic achievement and aggression victimization? Does academic achievement moderate the relation between depressive symptoms and aggression victimization? Academic Achievement Academic Depressive Symptoms Achievement Aggression Victimization Girls between the ages of 9-12 13 fifth grade classrooms 6 low-middle income schools Latina (N=32) Caucasian (N=35) AfricanAmerican (N=34) Academic Group (RC) Increase students' reading abilities Oral reading of a chapter book and literacy activities Students kept journals, read aloud from book, and participated in writing assignments and discussions Social Group (SAPP) Reduce peer conflict and increase prosocial behaviors Students participated in discussion, role playing, modeling, and games Measure Description 4-item subscale of overall victimization Social Experience Questionnaire (SEQ) Peer report Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) 10-item subscale of depressive symptoms Self report 3-item scale of academic achievement Academic Achievement Teacher report Sample Item How often does _________ get hit, pushed, or beat up by other kids? α (T1- T2) .65 - .78 I am sad. Likert scale of 1-3 (1 as once in a while, 3 as all the time) .84 - .74 Math, reading, and science Likert scale of 1-5 (1 as far below average to 5 far above average) .95 - .87 Variable 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. T1 Depression -- 2. T2 Depression .60** -- 3. T1 Achievement -.19 -.10 -- 4. T2 Achievement -.06 -.07 .24* -- 5. T1 Victimization .27** .22* -.29** -.10 -- 6. T2 Victimization .34** -.34** -.35* -.20* .85** 6. -- Depression and victimization were positively correlated within and across time points. Follow-up regressions showed that, controlling for intervention group assignment: T1 depression T2 victimization (β = .02, p < .05) T1 victimization did not predict T2 depression. Further analyses were run splitting the groups: For both groups: T1 depression T2 victimization (RC, β = .04, p < .01; SAPP, β = .07, p < .01) SAPP group only: T1 victimization T2 depression (β =1.67, p < .01) Achievement was negatively correlated with victimization. Follow-up regressions showed that, controlling for intervention group assignment: T1 achievement T2 victimization (β = .22, p < .01) T1 victimization did not predict T2 achievement. Results of a Hierarchical Multiple Regression, controlling for T2 depression,T2 achievement, and group assignment showed: T1 achievement T2 victimization (β = -.17, p < .001) For RC only: T1 achievement T2 victimization(β = - .17, p < .01) T1 depression T2 victimization (β = .04, p < .05) There was no moderation effect of achievement on the relation between depression and victimization. Depression positively predicted victimization across groups. Victimization positively predicted depression for girls in the SAPP group only. Results partially support past findings of a bidirectional relation between victimization and depression. Involvement in short-term social intervention might make girls’ peer difficulties salient. Achievement negatively predicted victimization across groups. Once achievement was introduced, depression was no longer predictive of victimization for girls in the social intervention group. For girls in the academic intervention group, achievement and depression both uniquely predicted victimization. Teacher reports of achievement Academic performance reflects a combination of achievement, school behavior, and teacher-student relationships. May be most predictive of success in school (e.g., proxy for grades). Future research: use of other achievement indices (e.g., standardized test scores). CDI: Limited variability Two time points: Difficult to capture a dynamic and bidirectional relationship Future research: Longitudinal, multi-time point study.