Understanding Depressive Symptoms Among Emerging Adults

Salvador Dominguez, University of Texas at El Paso


As societies have progressed following the industrial revolution, the transitioning into adulthood has undergone constant changes. This shift has resulted in young adults delaying traditional roles such as marriage and parenthood to pursue tertiary education and other opportunities. Emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) is a phase during an individual’s life where they undergo constant changes because of newfound independence, new relationships, and other life-changing events. Currently, it has transitioned into a period where symptoms of depression are commonly experienced more than any other time in life. Given the negative impacts that depressive symptoms can have on individuals' well-being, two studies were conducted to better understand emerging adults’ experience with depressive symptoms. Two aims were examined using secondary data analysis to understand the factors contributing to depressive symptoms among emerging adults. The first examined the risk and protective factors most prevalent during emerging adulthood and sought to determine their relationships with depressive symptoms. Protective factors such as self-esteem, family social support, neighborhood-related factors, and risk factors such as criminal engagement and substance abuse were examined. Of the factors examined, self-esteem, neighborhood-related factors, criminal engagement, and alcohol use were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. The second examined biopsychosocial factors related to depressive symptoms among emerging adults. Biopsychosocial factors such as nutrition, physical health, negative emotions, self-esteem, family social support, and having a mentor were studied. Nutrition levels, physical health, negative emotions, and self-esteem were significantly associated with the respondents’ depressive symptoms. Based on these findings, this dissertation suggested that these protective and risk factors, as well as the biopsychosocial factors related to depressive symptoms, should be the focus of future public health policies and interventions for emerging adults.

Subject Area

Health sciences|Mental health|Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Dominguez, Salvador, "Understanding Depressive Symptoms Among Emerging Adults" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29069056.