The correlates of depressed mood in adolescents in Hong Kong

Sunita M. Stewart, Carol L. Betson, T. H. Lam, S. F. Chung, H. H. Ho, T. C F Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose: Most studies of depressed mood and its correlates in adolescents have been conducted in Western countries. This study examined the relationship between a broad range of stressors and depressed mood in a community sample of Hong Kong adolescents. Methods: Secondary school students (n = 996) completed the Chinese Beck Depression Inventory (C-BDI), provided demographic information, and indicated their perceptions of family and peer relationships, school function and pressures, and subjective health, and some measures salient to the Hong Kong environment: triad gang pressure, religiosity, and intent to emigrate. The correlation between C-BDI and these variables was assessed in bivariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Hong Kong adolescents reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than a comparison group of Western teenagers. Girls showed more symptoms than boys. All stressors correlated in bivariate analyses with C-BDI, indicating similar influences on depressed mood in Western and Hong Kong teenagers. In multivariate analyses, the stressors contributed cumulatively to the C-BDI score. Perceptions of a lack of parental understanding and peer acceptance appeared as the strongest variables in predicting depressed mood. Conclusions: Depressed mood is highly prevalent among Hong Kong teenagers. Stressors play a cumulative role in their relationship to mood. Our findings point to the importance of broad screening of this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1999


  • Adolescents
  • Cross-cultural
  • Depressed mood
  • Gender differences
  • Hong Kong Chinese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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