Correlates of Depression in Asian-American Adolescents in New York City
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Purpose: To conduct an exploratory study of the correlates of depressive symptoms among Asian-American adolescents in New York City. A high rate of depressive symptoms was discovered in both smokers and nonsmokers for a study of smoking behaviors among Asian-American adolescents in New York City which prompted the investigators to explore the correlates of depression among this sample. The following hypothesis was addressed: Adolescents who have increased depressive-symptom scores are more likely to be older, female, less English language acculturated, have poor academic performance, not currently enrolled in school, arrived in the United States after seven years of age, have less parental education, and a current smoker than those who have lower depressive symptom scores. Methods: This descriptive, correlational study was conducted at several organizational sites that serve Asian-American adolescents in New York City. A convenience sample of 328 Asian-American adolescents, ages 16 to 19 were recruited for the study. Demographic, depression (CES-D Scale) questionnaire, Acculturation Scale (English language usage questionnaire), age of arrival in the United States and smoking questionnaire were completed. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the main hypothesis. Results: The study found that being older, being more English-language acculturated, having poor academic performance, arrival in the United States and current smoking status were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. A very significant correlate of depressive symptoms found was smoking. Conclusion: Depressive symptoms may be prevalent among Asian-American adolescents. The findings may not provide conclusive evidence on why these adolescents feel depressed and how prevention and intervention programs may be developed, but these findings add valuable information on the mental well-being of Asian-American adolescents in New York City. It is critical to focus attention on this significant health problem and essential that smoking prevention programs are culturally and ethnically sensitive to the needs of Asian-American adolescents.