Although research implicates pubertal processes in the emergence of the sex difference in depression during adolescence, few studies have examined how cognitive and affective vulnerabilities influence the effect of pubertal timing on depressive symptoms. The current study prospectively examined whether early pubertal timing predicted increases in depressive symptoms among adolescents with more negative cognitive styles and lower emotional clarity, and whether this risk was specific to adolescent girls. In a diverse sample of 318 adolescents, early pubertal timing predicted increases in depressive symptoms among adolescent boys and girls with more negative cognitive styles and adolescent girls with poor emotional clarity. These findings suggest that earlier pubertal maturation may heighten the risk of depression for adolescents with pre-existing vulnerabilities to depression, and that early maturing adolescent girls with lower levels of emotional clarity may be particularly vulnerable to depressive symptoms, representing one pathway through which the sex difference in depression may emerge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cognitive vulnerability
- Emotional clarity