Background: The separation of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder as two distinct disorders is often questioned. The aim of the current study is to examine whether there is a different profile of life events and personality characteristics for anxiety and depression disorders in adolescents.
Methods: One hundred forty-six adolescents participated in the study; 57 boys and 89 girls, ranging in age from 11-18 years (mean=15.08+1.97). The study group included 92 adolescents with a clinical diagnosis of depression or anxiety, and the comparison group included 54 teenagers with no known psychopathology.
Results: Multinomial logistic regression produced different predictive profiles for anxiety disorder and depressive disorders. Life event variables, especially minor life events and early traumas, were found to be predictors for depression. Furthermore, an interaction was found between early trauma and minor life events in the prediction of depression, such that the existence of trauma weakened the statistical correlation between minor life events and the onset of depression.
In addition, contrary to the literature regarding adults, it was found that during adolescence, personality variables have a unique contribution as predictive factors for vulnerability to the onset of anxiety and depression, thus reducing the significance of life events.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that different profiles of life events and personality characteristics can be identified for the two disorders. In addition, it appears that early traumas are a dominant factor that overshadow more recent life events at the onset of depression among adolescents.