Behavior problems associated with diminished academic achievement in depressed adolescents

Published on November 29, 2012 at 4:20 AM · No Comments

Unlike students who experienced depression, the study found that adolescents who experienced attention issues, delinquency, or substance use had lower average GPAs than youths without any such problems. Similarly, delinquency and substance use were associated with receiving lesser degrees while depression was not. Adolescents who experienced two problems typically earned lower GPAs and lesser degrees than those who experienced only one problem, although some combinations of problems had more harmful effects than others. For example, substance use increased the educational risks associated with depression, attention issues, and delinquency. In contrast, experiencing depression in combination with attention issues, delinquency, or substance use was not linked to GPAs or levels of educational attainment lower than those of students who had any of these problems alone. Interestingly, attention issues were not associated with lower levels of educational attainment whereas they were related to lower GPAs.

"It could be that attention issues adversely affect high school GPA, but not level of educational attainment because success in college and graduate school may be less closely tied to behavior and interactions within the classroom than it is in high school," McLeod said. "For example, if you're in a large college classroom and you're someone who needs to be bouncing your knees or tapping your pen, that's not going to come to the notice of the instructor in the same way that it might in a smaller high school classroom."

The analysis controlled for academic aptitude, meaning the researchers took into account whether the youths in the study had the ability to do well in school. "What we found is that there are adolescents who have the ability to succeed, but who are not succeeding in school because of their troubling behavior-attention issues, delinquency, substance use or a combination," McLeod said. "This suggests to me that schools should reconsider the approach they take to dealing with these students. Perhaps, they should think about moving away from punitive approaches towards approaches aimed at integrating these students into the school community."

Source: American Sociological Association

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