Objective: To determine the prevalence of depression and psychosocial factors associated with depression in secondary school students in Trinidad.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of a stratified random sample of public secondary schools utilizing a modified pre-tested self-administered Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to detect depression in students aged 13–19 years in Trinidad.
Results: In this study, 1290 students participated, a response rate of 79.6%; 43% were aged 13–15 years; 53.6 % were Indo-Trinidadians; 82.5% were attending co-educational schools and 70.6% lived with both parents. The prevalence of depression was 25.3% ± 2.37%. Chi-square analysis revealed statistically significant associations between depression and the categories of age, gender, living arrangements and school type. Similar findings were observed for respondents who admitted to cigarette and alcohol use or to being afraid of, or being injured by their parent (p < 0.05). Logistic regression indicated that females were 1.7 times as likely to be depressed when compared with males; respondents not living with both parents were 1.5 times as likely to be depressed as those who were. Respondents reporting that they were afraid of parents or of being injured by parents were three times as likely to be depressed as respondents who had not had those experiences.
Conclusions: One out of every four secondary school students in Trinidad was found to have significant depression. There were strong associations between depression and age, gender, school type and family structure. This study identifies that many adolescents experience violence in the home and those who did were more likely to be depressed.