The relationship between positive youth development and depressive symptoms among chinese early adolescents: A three-year cross-lagged analysis

Xinli Chi, Xiaofeng Liu, Qiaomin Huang, Xiumin Cui, Li Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Based on the development assets theory and the scar model, the present study examined the relationship between positive youth development (PYD) and depressive symptoms among Chinese early adolescents using a three-year longitudinal study design. Data from three waves were collected from 1301 students (Mean age = 12.46, SD = 0.63 years and 51.2% boys at wave 1) across the junior high school period (Grades 7–9). All participants completed a questionnaire that included the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and the Chinese Positive Youth Development Scale (CPYD) once a year over three years. After controlling for age and gender, this study found that PYD significantly predicted subsequent depressive symptoms. However, depressive symptoms did not significantly predict subsequent PYD. The results indicated a unidirectional relationship between PYD and depressive symptoms, where a reduction in PYD may increase subsequent depressive symptoms, though not vice versa. Besides, the negative cross-sectional correlation between PYD and depressive symptoms remains significant and stable from first year (T1) to third year (T3). These findings suggest that promoting PYD may be a promising approach to preventing/reducing adolescent depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6404
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Chinese adolescents
  • Cross-lagged study
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Positive youth development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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