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Adolescence. 1994 Summer;29(114):379-88.

Self-reported depressive symptoms in inner-city adolescents seeking routine health care.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut Health Center, Hartford.


This study examines the self-reported depressive symptoms of inner-city adolescents coming to a health center for routine care. Data were obtained from a confidential screening questionnaire. Of the 966 adolescents responding to questions about depression, 371 (38%) indicated never being down or depressed. Five hundred and seventy three indicated the frequency of their being down or depressed as follows: 446 (78%) infrequent (once a month or less) and 127 (22%) frequent (weekly or more often). Relationships between frequently feeling down or depressed and eight somatic and twelve psychosocial concerns were explored. A relative risk for frequently feeling down or depressed greater than threefold was found for six of these concerns, all psychosocial in nature. These data suggest that one-fifth of the teens coming for routine health care also reported frequent feelings of being down or depressed when specifically asked about such feelings. Identification of such teens may be facilitated by inquiries into specific somatic and psychosocial concerns. Follow-up care is also reviewed. Since adolescents do not routinely seek help for mental health concerns, health providers seeing adolescents for general health care should actively solicit information relating to such concerns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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