Date of this Version
This study investigated daily states and time use patterns associated with depression. Four hundred eighty-three 5th to 9th graders reported on their experience when signaled by pagers at random times. Depressed youth reported more negative affect and social emotions, lower psychological investment, lower energy, and greater variability in affect. These differences were weaker for 5th and 6th graders, suggesting that self-reported feeling states are a poor indicator of depression prior to adolescence. No differences were found in the daily activities of depressed youths nor in the amount of time spent alone, but depressed youths experienced other people as less friendly and more often reported wanting to be alone, especially when with their families. They also spent less time in public places and more time in their bedrooms. Finally, depressed boys, but not girls, spent much less time with friends, particularly of the same sex, suggesting that social isolation is more strongly associated with depression for boys.