Grade Retention and Seventh-Grade Depression Symptoms in the Course of School Dropout among High-Risk Adolescents


The relationship between grade retention and adolescent depression in the course of school dropout is poorly understood. Improving knowledge of the mechanisms involving these variables would shed light on at-risk youth development. This study examines whether depression in adolescence moderates the relationship between grade retention and school dropout in a high-risk sample. Seventh-grade students (n = 453) from two low-SES secondary schools in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) were followed from 2000 to 2006. Self-reported lifetime and seventh-grade depression were measured with the Inventory to Diagnose Depression. Primary school grade retention, and secondary school dropout status was obtained through the Ministry of Education of Quebec registries. Sixteen percent of participants reported lifetime depression, and 13% reported depression in seventh-grade. Nearly one third (32%) of the sample dropped out of school. Logistic regression models were used to estimate moderation effects predicting school dropout six years later. Findings indicated that students with grade retention were 5.54 times more likely to drop out of school. Depression in seventh grade increased by 2.75 times the likelihood of school dropout. The probability of dropping out for adolescents combining both grade retention and seventh-grade depression was 7.26 times higher than it was for those reporting grade retention only. The moderating effect of depression was similar for boys and girls. Depression is a significant vulnerability factor of low educational attainment aggravating the risk associated with grade retention. Experiencing depression at the beginning of secondary school can interfere with school perseverance particularly for students who experienced early academic failure.

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Quiroga, C. , Janosz, M. , Lyons, J. & Morin, A. (2012). Grade Retention and Seventh-Grade Depression Symptoms in the Course of School Dropout among High-Risk Adolescents. Psychology, 3, 749-755. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.329113.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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