Risk factors for depression in Pacific adolescents in New Zealand: A network analysis

Lisa Gossage, Ajit Narayanan, Joanna F. Dipnall, Leon Iusitini, Alexander Sumich, Michael Berk, Wendy Wrapson, El Shadan Tautolo, Richard Siegert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Network analysis provides opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the complex interplay of risk factors for depression and heterogeneous symptom presentations. This study used network analysis to discover risk factors associated with both depression severity and depression symptoms amongst Pacific adolescents in New Zealand. Methods: Mixed graphical models with regularization were fitted to data from a community sample of New Zealand born, Pacific adolescents, (n = 561; 51% male; Mean age (SD) = 17 (0.35)) and associations between a wide range of potentially explanatory variables and depression severity and depression symptoms investigated. The associations identified were then tested for reliability, using resampling techniques and sensitivity analysis. Results: In the networks, the explanatory variables associated with both depression severity and depression symptoms were those related to quality of the relationships with mother or friends, school connectedness, and self-assessed weight, but the symptoms they were associated with varied substantially. In the depression severity networks, impulsivity appeared to be a bridging node connecting depression severity with delinquency and negative peer influence. Limitations: The data were analysed cross-sectionally, so causal inferences about the directions of relationships could not be inferred and most of the data were self-reported. Conclusions: The results illustrate the varied way that adolescent depression can manifest itself in terms of symptoms and suggest specific items on the depression inventory that might be suitable targets for prevention strategies and interventions, based on the risk factor - depression symptom profiles of individuals or groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Depression
  • Network analysis
  • Pacific
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms

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