Deakin University
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Community factors influencing child and adolescent depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-01, 00:00 authored by Katie Stirling, John ToumbourouJohn Toumbourou, Bosco RowlandBosco Rowland
OBJECTIVE: Depression has been identified as a priority disorder among children and adolescents. While numerous reviews have examined the individual and family factors that contribute to child and adolescent depressive symptoms, less is known about community-level risk and protective factors. The aim of this study was to complete a systematic review to identify community risk and protective factors for depression in school-aged children (4-18 years). METHOD: The review adopted the procedures recommended by the Cochrane Non-Randomised Studies Methods Working Group and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify both observational and intervention study designs in both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications. RESULTS: A total of 21 studies met the inclusion criteria. Seventeen of the 18 community association studies and 2 of the 3 intervention studies reported one or more significant effects. Results indicated that community safety and community minority ethnicity and discrimination act as risk factors for depressive symptoms in school-aged children. Community disadvantage failed to achieve significance in meta-analytic results but findings suggest that the role of disadvantage may be influenced by other factors. Community connectedness was also not directly associated with depressive symptoms. CONCLUSION: There is evidence that a number of potentially modifiable community-level risk and protective factors influence child and adolescent depressive symptoms suggesting the importance of continuing research and intervention efforts at the community-level.



Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry






869 - 886


Sage Publications


Abingdon, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2015, Sage Publications