We investigated the heterogeneous developmental trajectories of depressive symptoms in junior and senior high school, the transitions to different trajectories after entering senior high school, and the linkages to the development of depressive symptoms in early adulthood among Taiwanese adolescents. An eight-wave longitudinal data set was analyzed, including 2687 Taiwanese adolescents (51.2% boys, M age = 14.3 at first wave). Using a manual three-step latent transition growth mixture model, we found that a three-class solution fit the data for both junior high school (termed high-improving, cumulative, and JS-low-stable) and senior high school period (termed heightening, moderate-stable, and HS-low-stable). The depressive symptoms of most individuals maintained at a low level (i.e., low-stable) from adolescence to early adulthood; however, nearly a quarter of the adolescents reported depressive symptoms that were moderately or highly severe in senior high school and beyond. More than 30% of the participants experienced transitioning into a different developmental trajectory between junior and senior high school. When perceiving a higher level of paternal behavioral control, adolescents categorized in the high-improving class in junior high school would have a higher chance to transition to the moderate-stable class than to HS-low-stable class in senior high school. Adolescent boys and girls did not differ in the probability of transitioning between trajectories across junior and senior high school. However, a clear and consistent pattern of symptoms between late adolescence and early adulthood was not observed. These results help elucidate the heterogeneity and fluidity associated with the development of depressive symptoms between early adolescence and early adulthood in light of school transition among youths in Taiwan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health