Title

Academic Achievement and Depression Among Chinese Youth: The Role of Gender

Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Heidi E. Stolz

Committee Members

Brian K. Barber, Julia Malia

Abstract

A seemingly discrepant relationship between Chinese adolescents’ academic achievement, depression and gender was revealed from the literature. Chinese adolescent girls have higher academic achievement than Chinese boys (Duckworth & Seligman, 2006; Hunley et al., 2005; Liang & Sun, 2000; Nie, Zhang, & Zhang, 2001; Wan et al., 2003). Higher academic achievement was found to be inversely associated with depression among Chinese adolescents (Hesketh et al., 2002; Ji et al., 2001; Pritchard, 1996). It is then expected that Chinese girls have lower depression than Chinese boys. However, literature shows that Chinese girls have higher depression than Chinese boys (Hesketh et al., 2002; Lin, 2001; Unger et al., 2001; Wan et al., 2003).

Five possible models for gender, achievement and depression are proposed through the technique of data simulation to explain the seemingly conflicting relationship among the three variables. Secondary data analysis of cross-sectional survey data from mainland Chinese adolescents was used to investigate which model represents the relationship among academic achievement, depression and gender. None of the models was confirmed because two initial hypotheses were not supported. Girls did not demonstrate higher academic achievement than boys; and girls did not demonstrate a higher depression level than boys either. It was only found that academic achievement was inversely related to adolescent depression, F (1, 985) = 41.769, p < .001. The limitations of the study and the implications for future studies and research were discussed.

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