Behavior problems, not depression, to be blamed for bad grades
Behavior problems - including attention issues, delinquency, and substance use - and not depression, are linked to lower grades for adolescents, according to a study.
Lead author Jane D. McLeod, a sociology professor and an associate dean at Indiana University, and colleagues used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, or Add Health, which followed thousands of U.S. adolescents from their middle and high school years through their transition to early adulthood.
McLeod's analysis focuses on students who were in high school when Add Health began in 1994. To determine academic achievement, McLeod considered the high school GPAs of students after the first wave of Add Health in 1994 and the highest educational degrees they received by 2008-2009.
Unlike students who experienced depression, the study found that adolescents who experienced attention issues, delinquency, or substance use had lower average GPAs than youths without any such problems.
Similarly, delinquency and substance use were associated with receiving lesser degrees while depression was not.
"Behavior problems including attention issues, delinquency, and substance use are associated with diminished achievement, but depression is not," McLeod said in a statement.
"Certainly, there are depressed youths who have trouble in school, but it's likely because they are also using substances, engaging in delinquent activities, or have attention issues," he added.
The study has been published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.