Adolescent Depression Impacts Young Adult Relationships

Depressive or suicidal symptoms during adolescence might do more than temporary harm. Researchers at Child Trends have found that young adults who had reported those symptoms as adolescents were more likely to be in unhealthy relationships, characterized by violence or infidelity.

Because they knew it might be tempting to attribute this to demographic differences, researchers controlled for age, gender, parent education, family structure, income and race/ethnicity. In their brief, “Measuring the Associations Between Symptoms of Depression and Suicide in Adolescence and Unhealthy Romantic Relationships in Young Adulthood,” they report that the findings remained true across all of these potential divides.

In addition to their call for identifying and intervening with adolescents with (or at risk of) depressive or suicidal symptoms, study authors recommend that researchers explore specific factors (such as poor problem-solving or communications skills, or past victimization) that impact relationship outcomes for this population, and that practitioners use the results of that research to target their interventions.

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