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Br J Psychiatry. 1993 Sep;163:374-80.

A community study of depression in adolescent girls. II: The clinical features of identified disorder.

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  • 1Section of Developmental Psychiatry, Cambridge.


The clinical characteristics of two subsamples of 11-16-year-old girls were determined from direct interview: those who met DSM-III-R criteria for an episode of major depressive disorder within the past month (n = 28); and those who did not currently meet these criteria but had done so at some time in the previous 12 months (n = 13). The symptom profiles of these cases were compared with a subsample of girls who reported depressive symptoms but did not meet DSM-III-R criteria and were designated as having a 'partial syndrome' (n = 93), and a sample of non-depressed controls (n = 129). Phobias and worry about peer acceptance were common in controls suggesting that these symptoms constitute normal adolescent concerns. The symptom profile of depressed cases altered across three age bands (11-12, 13-14, and 15-16 years), suggesting developmental influences on clinical presentation. Comorbidity for anxiety, behavioural, and obsessional disorders was found in 40% of the depressed cases. None of the cases of major depressive disorder was known to the clinical services.

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