Development and Psychopathology

Regular Articles

Dynamic temporal relations between anxious and depressive symptoms across adolescence

Chrystyna D. Kourosa1 c1, Susanna Quasema1 and Judy Garbera1

a1 Vanderbilt University


Symptoms of anxiety and depression are prevalent among adolescents and associated with impairment in multiple domains of functioning. Moreover, anxiety and depression frequently co-occur, with estimated comorbidity rates as high as 75%. Whereas previous research has shown that anxiety symptoms predict increased depressive symptoms over time, the relation between depressive symptoms and later anxiety symptoms has been inconsistent. The present study examined dynamic relations between anxiety and depressive symptoms across adolescence and explored whether these longitudinal relations were moderated by maternal history of anxiety, family relationship quality, or children's attributional style. Participants included 240 children (M age = 11.86 years; 53.9% female) and their mothers, who were assessed annually for 6 years. Children reported on their depressive symptoms and mothers reported on their child's anxiety symptoms. Dynamic latent change score models indicated that anxiety symptoms predicted subsequent elevations in depressive symptoms over time. Depressive symptoms predicted subsequent elevations in anxiety symptoms among children who had mothers with a history of anxiety, reported low family relationship quality, or had high levels of negative attributions. Thus, whereas anxiety symptoms were a robust predictor of later depressive symptoms during adolescence, contextual and individual factors may be important to consider when examining relations between depressive symptoms and subsequent change in anxiety symptoms.


c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Chrystyna D. Kouros, Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750442, Dallas, TX 75275; E-mail:


  This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R29 MH454580, K02 MH66249), the NICHD (P30HD15052), and a Faculty Scholar Award (1214-88) and grant (173096) from the William T. Grant Foundation. The first author was supported in part by an NIMH training grant (T32-MH18921) during preparation of this manuscript. We appreciate the cooperation of the Nashville Metropolitan School District, Drs. Binkley and Crouch, and we especially thank the parents and children who participated in the project. We also acknowledge Dr. Emilio Ferrer for his helpful guidance on data analyses.