The study titled “Gender Differences in the Effects of Academic Achievement on Depressive Symptoms During Adolescence” published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies in 2022, by Minglee Yong, Carolyn A. McCarty, Ann Vander Stoep, and Elizabeth A. McCauley, explores the interplay between academic achievement and depressive symptoms in adolescents, with a focus on gender differences and the role of the parent-child relationship. Using a diverse sample of 521 adolescents, the study employed a longitudinal approach, capturing data across four waves to examine the predictive reciprocal associations between academic achievement and depressive symptoms. The study’s methodology incorporated multiple-group cross-lagged panel models to assess potential mediating and moderating effects of the parent-child relationship.

The key findings of the research indicated that there is a reciprocal relationship between academic achievement and depression, where depressive symptoms predicted lower GPA scores across the sixth to ninth grades. However, poor academic performance specifically predicted depressive symptoms in girls, not boys. This suggests that academic achievement holds differential developmental significance for boys and girls. Despite girls generally scoring higher overall GPA scores, they reported higher levels of depressive symptoms from the seventh grade onwards. The study also revealed that depressive symptoms negatively impact the parent-child relationship, which in turn exacerbates depressive symptoms. However, no evidence was found to suggest that the parent-child relationship mediated or moderated the predictive association between academic achievement and depression.

The study hypothesized a reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and academic achievement, with the parent-child relationship acting as a mediator. The results aligned with the hypothesis, indicating that girls are more likely than boys to be affected by low academic achievement and poor parent-child relationships. The research findings are significant as they highlight the complex interplay between academic achievement, depressive symptoms, and gender, emphasizing the need for gender-sensitive approaches in addressing academic and mental health challenges during adolescence.


Yong, M., McCarty, C. A., Vander Stoep, A., & McCauley, E. A. (2022). Gender differences in the effects of academic achievement on depressive symptoms during adolescence. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 31(12), 3326-3341. Doi: HTTPs://