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Deconstructing Depression: A Latent Class Analysis of Potential Depressive Subtypes in Emerging Adults

Barton, Yakov Ariel

The aim of the current investigation is to explore potential subtypes of depressive symptomatology from a phenomenological vantage point, focusing on dimensions of positive human functioning and character strengths. The study examines distinct presentational depressive symptom clusters in light of recent research on developmental depression—defined as depressive symptomatology that may characterize periods of major life transition, existential upheaval, and personal growth. To inductively derive clusters, unique homogeneous classes are explored across depressive and positive psychological variables within a large heterogeneous sample of 3,806 emerging adults (aged 18-25, mean = 20.0, SD = 1.9). The present investigation utilizes two latent class analysis (LCA) models, both interpreted in light of the developmental depression hypothesis. Phase I examines a LCA model containing three depressive symptomatology clusters, including mood/anhedonia, somatic, and cognitive areas of depressive functioning. Average scores on spiritual, existential, positive psychological, and relational covariate variables are examined across classes. Phase II produces a LCA model that combines salient depressive symptomatology and positive psychological variables from Phase I into a unified model. Results suggest that distinct subtypes of depression may exist throughout emerging adulthood. An interpretation of these results that supports the developmental depression hypothesis is proposed.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Lisa F.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 7, 2016