Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Linda Raffaele-Mendez Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts Ph.D

Committee Member

Janise Parker Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron Ph.D


Depression, Ethnic Identity, Gender, Intersectionality, Race


Adolescent mental illness is a major concern in the Unites States. The adolescent stage is a critical developmental period of physical and mental changes, thus it is important to understand protective factors associated with positive wellbeing. The current study aimed to explore: (a) the associations among race, gender, ethnic identity, and depressive symptoms among eighth grade adolescents, (b) to what extent are there differences in degree of depressive symptoms among youth based on race and gender, and (c) to what extent a strong sense of ethnic identity serves as a protective factor against the development of depression among youth with different demographic characteristics. Data were collected from participants in the Maryland Adolescent In Context Study (MADICS) when they were in the 8th grade. Findings indicated that race and gender were not significantly associated with depression. Among the current sample identifying as a Black participant was not significantly predictive of symptoms of depression compared to students who identified as White. Girls and boys did not significantly experience depression symptoms differently based on items endorsed on the survey. Additionally, statistical significant interaction effects between race and gender with relation to symptoms of depression were not detected. Finally, youth in the sample who reported higher ethnic identity scores also reported more depression. Implications for school psychologist will be discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons