13-Year-Old Girls Far Likelier Than Boys To Experience Depressive Symptoms


Almost a fifth of 13-year-old girls believe they have symptoms of ‘depression’, the ESRI’s latest ‘Growing Up in Ireland‘ study has found.

16% of that age group have outlined how they have had symptoms of depression however, girls (18%) were more likely than boys (14%) to score above the cut-off for depression.

That’s according to the latest Growing up in Ireland study which has looked at the years 2011 and 2012.

As part of this report, over 7,400 13 year old’s and their families were interviewed.

About 7% of the sample were categorised as having difficulties at both 9 and 13, a group which researchers say we should be most concerned about “as their social, emotional and behavioural problems were likely becoming more entrenched”.

It’s revealed that 88% of parents felt their child was doing well and displaying no significant levels of difficulty.

A young person’s relationship with their parents was among the factors.

The reports author Dr Elizabeth Nixon says their peer relationships were another important indicator:

Being involved in bullying was highly related to higher levels of depressed mood. Having low quality relationships with peers also seemed to be quite important.”

The report also shows a sudden change in family structure was also associated with a higher risk of poorer well-being, and good quality friendships were more important than having a greater number of friends.

16% of 13 year old’s said they had tried drinking alcohol, while 9% had smoked a cigarette.

Boys with fewer than five friends were less likely to have consumed alcohol.

Having older friends was associated with greater antisocial behaviour, higher levels of smoking, drinking and drug use among boys and girls.