Cross-lagged associations between depressive symptoms and response style in adolescents

Kim M. van Ettekoven*, Sanne P.A. Rasing, Ad A. Vermulst, Rutger C.M.E. Engels, Karlijn C.M. Kindt, Daan H.M. Creemers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Depressive disorders are highly prevalent during adolescence and they are a major concern for individuals and society. The Response Style Theory and the Scar Theory both suggest a relationship between response styles and depressive symptoms, but the theories differ in the order of the development of depressive symptoms. Longitudinal reciprocal prospective relationships between depressive symptoms and response styles were examined in a community sample of 1343 adolescents. Additionally, response style was constructed with the traditional approach, which involves examining three response styles separately without considering the possible relations between them, and with the ratio approach, which accounts for all three response styles simultaneously. No reciprocal relationships between depressive symptoms and response style were found over time. Only longitudinal relationships between response style and depressive symptoms were significant. This study found that only depressive symptoms predicted response style, whereas the response style did not emerge as an important underlying mechanism responsible for developing and maintaining depressive symptoms in adolescents. These findings imply that prevention and intervention programs for adolescents with low depressive symptoms should not focus on adaptive and maladaptive response style strategies to decrease depressive symptoms, but should focus more on behavioral interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1380
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2020


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