School pressure and depressive thoughts in early and middle adolescence and the moderating effect of personality traits and sex
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School pressure is a serious and increasing problem among young adolescents. So far it is unclear what the consequences are for the adolescent development and in particular for the development of depressive thoughts. The current study examined whether school pressure (T1) was a predictor for depressive thoughts (T3) among early and middle adolescents. In addition, it was studied whether this relation was moderated by sex and the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion. Longitudinal data from the TRacking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) at wave 1 and wave 3 was used (N = 2229, 49,3% boys, MageT1 = 11.11, SD = .56). The hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses revealed that school pressure predicts depressive thoughts later in life. Furthermore, the results indicated that neuroticism was a significant moderator. This indicates that having a more neurotic personality style increases the risk for developing depressive thoughts when experiencing school pressure. Further research should focus on other personality traits that might function as a risk or protective factor in the relationship between school pressure and depressive thoughts. Furthermore, personality targeted interventions for adolescents should support the development of coping skills to deal with school pressure.