The Effects of Attention Problems on Depression: Developmental, Academic, and Cognitive Pathways

Keith C. Herman, Rick Ostrander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The present study investigated developmental pathways between inattention and depression, particularly the roles of school maladjustment and child cognitions. Additionally, a measure of conduct problems was included in all analyses to test competing theories about the emergence of depressive symptoms. Results supported the hypothesized path models from inattention to depression for younger and older children. Consistent with developmental theories, only an environmental variable, school maladjustment, was needed to explain the relationship between inattention and depression for the younger group (under 8 years old). For children in the middle group (8-9 years old), school maladjustment continued to uniquely account for part of the path to child depressive symptoms, but a cognitive variable, control-related beliefs, emerged as a significant mediator as well. For older children (10 years and older), control-related beliefs fully mediated the effects of school maladjustment on depressive symptoms. The hypothesized paths from conduct problems to depression, however, were not supported. Implications for designing interventions and prevention strategies for children with inattention and conduct problems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-510
Number of pages28
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • conduct problems
  • control-related beliefs
  • depression
  • inattention
  • school maladjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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