Faculty Publications

Similarities And Differences In The Longitudinal Trajectories Of Depressive Symptoms From Mid-Adolescence To Young Adulthood: The Intersectionality Of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, And Levels Of Depressive Symptoms

Document Type



Adolescence, Depressive symptoms, Gender and racial/ethnic differences, Intersectionality, Quantile regression, Trajectory

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities


Background: Understanding similarities and differences between groups with intersecting social identities provides key information in research and practice to promote well-being. Building on the intersectionality literature indicating significant gender and racial/ethnic differences in depressive symptoms, the present study used quantile regression to systematically present the diversity in the development of depressive symptoms for individuals with intersecting gender, race/ethnicity, and levels of symptoms. Methods: Information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79: Child and Young Adult study was employed. A detailed picture of depressive symptom trajectories from low to high quantiles was illustrated by depicting 13 quantile-specific trajectories using follow-up data from ages 15 to 40 in six gender-race/ethnicity groups: both genders of Black, Hispanic, and non-Black, non-Hispanic individuals. Results: From low to high quantiles, Black and non-Black, non-Hispanic individuals showed mostly curved, and Hispanic individuals showed mostly flat trajectories. Across the six gender-race/ethnicity groups, the trajectories below 0.50 quantiles were similar in levels and shapes from mid-adolescence to young adulthood. The differences between the six gender-race/ethnicity groups widened, indicated by outspreading trajectories, especially at quantiles above 0.50. Furthermore, non-Black, non-Hispanic males and females showed especially fast-increasing patterns at quantiles above 0.75. Among those without or with only a high school degree, Black females and non-Black, non-Hispanic females tended to report similar levels of depressive symptoms higher than other groups at high quantiles. These unique longitudinal trajectory profiles cannot be captured by the mean trajectories. Conclusions: The intersectionality of gender, race/ethnicity, and quantile of symptoms on the development of depressive symptoms was identified. Further studying the mechanism explaining this diversity can help reduce mental health disparities.


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version