Time Use and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence

Laura Desha (2009). Time Use and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence PhD Thesis, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Laura Desha
Thesis Title Time Use and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence
School, Centre or Institute School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-06
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 373
Total colour pages 3
Total black and white pages 370
Subjects 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Abstract/Summary ABSTRACT When depressive illness has its onset during adolescence it can exert a profound negative influence upon the individual and their daily functioning. Early identification of young people at risk of, or already experiencing, depressive symptoms is critical to enabling targeted intervention from clinicians, including occupational therapists. Early identification, however, is hampered by an incomplete understanding of how the disorder manifests in the daily lives of adolescents. The mental health determinants and sequelae of engagement in everyday activities represent core concerns of occupational therapists. As part of therapy with adolescents in Child and Youth Mental Health Services (CYMHS), occupational therapists endeavour to improve health by assessing time use, and engaging in interventions which explicitly target involvement in daily activity. Notwithstanding current practice, evidence for a link between actual time use and depressive symptom severity is scant. Background and Research Aims In this thesis the time use of adolescents is explored and related to depressive symptom severity in a series of three cross sectional studies. In keeping with ecologically- and occupation-focussed theoretical models of health and adolescent development (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006; Poulsen & Ziviani, 2004; World Health Organization, 2002), a novel approach to the study of time use has been taken. The studies quantify the amount of time that adolescents are exposed to the various conditions inherent in activities and their ecological settings. In conceptualising time use as ‘exposure’, attention is drawn specifically to common affordances of activities. In this thesis these are described as ‘underlying dimensions’ of time use. Key underlying dimensions of interest include (a) ‘physical exertion’ in daily time use, (b) time spent with different social partners, and (c) time engaged in structured activities. The studies make use of cumulative estimates of time use by summing each episode of exposure to the underlying dimensions of time use, across the out-of-school hours. This research was conducted with the aims of (a) aiding early identification of adolescents who are vulnerable to depressive illness, (b) examining the evidence for the assessment of time use in CYMHS, (c) identifying aspects of adolescent time use which are appropriate targets for occupational therapists’ intervention, and (d) directing future research into the effectiveness of time use-focussed interventions offered by occupational therapists to adolescents who are vulnerable to depressive illness. Methodology and Study Findings All the studies involve secondary analysis of interview and time diary data collected from a nationally representative sample of approximately 730 adolescents (13-18 years) participating in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement II. Data were gathered in 2002/2003 by the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan in America. Studies 1 and 2 employ ordinal logistic regression analyses to separately explore two of the underlying dimensions of time use, namely the physical exertion in daily activity, and the time spent engaged in activity alone or with key social partners (including parents, siblings and friends). These studies indicate that time devoted to physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity does not predict depressive symptom severity, breadth of participation in sporting extracurricular activity may be protective against depressive illness for males. For both genders, factors related to the positive or negative aspects of social relationships (such as adolescents’ ratings of how close they felt to parents, and the extent of risky behaviour among friends) appear to be stronger predictors of depressive symptomatology than the actual amount of time engaged in activity with others. Study 3 is informed conceptually and methodologically by the findings of Studies 1 and 2, and uses structural equation modeling, to examine a complex multivariate model of time use and depressive symptoms. This model incorporates a large range of factors which are theorized to influence the qualitative experience of spending time in a given context (e.g., adolescents’ perceptions of friend acceptance, which may influence the psychological impact of a prolonged encounter with friends). Study 3 reveals that the quantity of time over the course of a weekday or weekend day that adolescents are exposed to different types of activity (e.g., structured extracurricular activity, shared activity with parents) has no direct association with depressive symptom severity. However, an indirect path is identified, whereby the amount of time devoted to joint activity with parents is linked with depressive symptom severity via adolescent perceptions of parent acceptance. Conclusions and Recommendations The studies of this thesis have shown that the conceptualisation and quantification of time use as cumulative exposure to some specific underlying dimensions of engagement, are of little direct assistance in identifying young people who are vulnerable to depressive illness, however, this information may inform a range of clinical practices for occupational therapists working in CYMHS. Information on time use is therefore worth gathering in such services, particularly when it provides insights into social contact. It has been clearly and consistently identified that time use and its links with depression cannot be fully appreciated without considering the nature of adolescents’ relationships with their social partners in time use. Findings indicate that when time spent engaged in joint activity with parents is scant, or when poor relationships with parents are reported, adolescents at risk of depression are likely to benefit from therapy which is directed towards enhancing the quantity and quality of parent-adolescent interactions. The significance of this research lies in the generation of evidence to support further research into time use and its implications for mental health. Greater support for the specialist role of occupational therapists in addressing time use concerns will be gained through future studies which explore the immediate affective experience of spending time in activity, the personal and environmental contextual factors which mediate these experiences, and the implications of such experiences for mental health. Further to the insights gained regarding time use and depressive illness, the thesis presents an approach to research (i.e., a secondary analysis) and research methodologies which may be used by occupational therapists to answer complex questions regarding occupational engagement across the lifespan. Keywords: Adolescence, Depression, Internalizing Disorder, Time Use, Time Diary, Physical Activity, Social Contexts, Structured Extracurricular Activity, Organised Activity, Structural Equation Modeling. Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classifications (ANZSRC): 111714 Mental Health 100%.
Keyword Adolescence
Depression
Internalizing Disorder
Time Use
Time Diary
Physical Activity
Social Contexts
Structured Extracurricular Activity
Organised Activity
Structural Equation Modeling
Additional Notes Page numbers which need to be printed in colour/A3/landscape (PLEASE NOTE: These page numbers refer to the page numbers VISIBLE ON THE DOCUMENT - not the page number identified in Microsoft Office Word. These numbers differ from the sequential page numbers identified in Word due to the use of roman numerals for the 'front matter' of the thesis). COLOUR PAGES: 50,62 and 125. A3 PAGE (landscape): 110 A4 PAGE (landscape): 25,26,114, 167,168, 272-278 (inclusive), 281-287 (inclusive), 306, 312-318 (inclusive), 321,326.

 
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Created: Thu, 12 Nov 2009, 16:02:31 EST by Miss Laura Desha on behalf of Library - Information Access Service