Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adolescent Depression in South Korea: A Multilevel Analysis

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Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adolescent Depression in South Korea: A Multilevel Analysis

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Title: Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adolescent Depression in South Korea: A Multilevel Analysis
Author: Heo, Jongho; Park, Hye Yin; Subramanian, S.V. Venkata; Kawachi, Ichiro; Oh, Juhwan

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Citation: Park, Hye Yin, Jongho Heo, S. V. Subramanian, Ichiro Kawachi, and Juhwan Oh. 2012. Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent depression in South Korea: a multilevel analysis. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47025.
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Abstract: Background: In recent years, South Korea has witnessed a sustained rise in the prevalence of adolescent depression. In the present study, we sought to investigate family and school environmental influences on adolescent depression. Methods and Findings Middle and high school students (N = 75,066) were randomly selected respondents to a web-based survey and answered questions on their academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, parental support, parental education level, physical activities, lifestyle habits and their experience of depression in the past one year. Two-level multilevel analysis was used to investigate the relationship between depression and individual (level 1) and school (level 2) factors. Girls reported having experienced depression in greater numbers than boys (43.96% vs. 32.03%). A significant association was found between adolescent depression experience and gender, grade, self-rated academic achievement, family affluence scale, parental support, parental education level, lifestyle habits, physical activity and sleep dissatisfaction. The students living with rich parents were more likely to be depressive, and maternal higher education was significantly associated with higher probability of boys’ depression experience. Low academic achievement was highly associated with the experience of depression. In school level contexts, girls were found to be less likely to be depressive in girls-only schools. Conclusion: The adolescent depression experience is not only an individual phenomenon but is highly associated with other factors such as parents, peers, academic achievement, and even gender mix in the school. Thus, prevention measures on youth depression need to focus on emphasizing less pressure from parents on academic performance, and establishing healthy inter-gender relationships within co-education schools.
Published Version: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047025
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