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The Relationship of Self Esteem and Depression in Adolescence Preface On May 14 1996 a 15-year-old middle school student shot his bus driver in the leg forced all the students off the bus and led police on a high speed chase through a residential neighborhood in Salt Lake City The chase ended when the boy shot himself right before crashing the school bus into the family room of a house The boy dressed in a cowboy hat and poncho was holding the obituaries of two recently deceased classmates Horiuchi et al 1996 One month earlier across town Caz and Joey bright popular high school students were lab partners in honors physics class One morning after a fight the night before with his father Caz was found dead hanging from a pipe in the basement Two weeks later Joey ran his car into a cement barrier wall at 70 miles an hour killing himself instantly Depression During a Unique Period of Development Major depression effects one in fifty school children Countless others are effected by milder cases of depression which may also effect school performance Lamarine 1995 The peak age of depression correlates with the peak years of low self-esteem Feldman Elliot 1990 write that the prime period for low self-esteem is early and middle adolescence with a peak period between the ages of thirteen and fourteen The suicide rate in teenagers has quadrupled in the last quarter century making it the 3rd leading cause of adolescent death in the nation In Utah it is the number one cause of death in for individuals 15 - 44 years old Wagner 1996 A high school with a population of 2000 students can expect 50 attempted suicides per year Kahn1995 And yet depression and other affective disorders continue to be an area primarily ignored by the public schools One of the factors that makes depression so difficult to diagnose in adolescents is the common behavior changes
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