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Affluent Adolescents, Depression, and Drug Use: The Role of Adults in Their Lives.

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Affluent Adolescents, Depression, and Drug Use: The Role of Adults in Their Lives.

Are affluent suburban adolescents at greater risk for depression and drug use than both middle-class and lower-class youth? “Contrary to popular belief, money does not necessarily make one less at risk for mental illness (Czechzentmehayli, 1999).” (Bogard, 2005). It actually seems that more and more high-class teens are depressed or using drugs on a daily basis than ever before. Although many people have various opinions on this topic, the amount of experimental research that has been conducted is very minimal.

A growing amount of research today involves the role and support of an adult in the lives of today’s youth. Kimber L. Bogard researched this topic in 2005 and analyzed a recent longitudinal study conducted by Suniya S. Luthar at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The basic hypothesis of this study was that maternal closeness is the most important predictor of psychological adjustment outcomes amongst adolescents. The view is that any sort of positive adult role in these kid’s lives will lead to reduced symptoms of depression and also reduced drug usage.

The participants of this study consisted of 374 seventh-grade students dividing into 173 females and 201 males. Their average age was 13 years old. These students were taken from two different middle schools in an affluent community in the Northeast and followed throughout their high school years. 92% of these students were Caucasian, 1.5% were African-American, 1.5% came from a Hispanic American background, 3% were Asian American, and 2% were of other ethnic backgrounds. The average income of their families was said to be around $101,965 for the year 2000. “The national median income as reported by the U.S. Census was $42,148 in 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).” (Bogard, 2005).

The researchers sent a letter to the parents describing the project and also saying that no individual child would be mentioned in any of the reports made from this study. If the parents did not want to administer their consent, they had to sign the form and send it back to the researchers. A second notice was then sent out at a later date to allow the parents a second chance to refuse permission. On days the researchers collected data; the students were asked for their consent in the study and henceforth signed a consent form if they agreed to participate.

Depressive symptoms, substance use, parent-adolescent closeness, and social support were the four variables which were measured. To measure depressive symptoms, they used The Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI). This is a 27-item, 3-choice scale created for school-age children and adolescents. The researchers used the frequency of drug use grid included in the Monitoring the Future Study Survey (Johnston, O’Malley, & Baehman, 1984) to measure the substance abuse level of these adolescents. This survey asks participants to rate, on a seven-point scale from “never” to “40 or more times” the amount of usage for several substances over the time period of one year. These substances included: nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, crack, cocaine, and LSD. The quality of parent-adolescent closeness was measured by the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA). This study assesses the

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