Indicators of adolescent depression and relationship progression in emerging adulthood

Sara E. Sandberg-Thoma, Claire M. Kamp Dush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Adolescent depression may be associated with future relationship problems that have long-term consequences given the developmental importance and health benefits of forming committed unions in emerging adulthood. The authors examined associations between emotional and behavioral indicators of adolescent depression (depressive symptoms, alcohol problems, and suicidal ideation) and romantic relationship and union formation and dissolution in emerging adulthood (n=14,146) using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Adolescent alcohol problems were associated with more romantic relationships in emerging adulthood. Emerging adults with depressive symptoms or alcohol problems in adolescence were significantly more likely to enter into a cohabiting union, and those with adolescent alcohol problems were less likely to marry. Cohabiting emerging adults with a history of adolescent depressive symptoms were less likely to marry, whereas suicidal ideation was associated with a decreased likelihood of cohabitation dissolution. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Relationship processes
  • Union formation


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