Self-reported depressive experiences are common among university students. However, most studies assessing depression in university students are cross-sectional, limiting our understanding of when in the academic year risk for depression is greatest and when interventions may be most needed. We examined within-person change in depressive symptoms from September to April. Study 1 (N = 198; 57% female; 72% white; Mage = 18.4): Depressive symptoms rose from September, peaked in December, and fell across the second semester. The rise in depressive symptoms was associated with higher perceived stress in December. Study 2 (N = 267; 78.7% female; 67.87% white; Mage = 21.25): Depressive symptoms peaked in December and covaried within persons with perceived stress and academic demands. The results have implications for understanding when and for whom there is increased risk for depressive experiences among university students.

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Keywords Academic stress, Depressive symptoms, Longitudinal, University students
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Journal Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Barker, E.T. (Erin T.), Howard, A, Villemaire-Krajden, R. (Rosanne), & Galambos, N.L. (Nancy L.). (2018). The Rise and Fall of Depressive Symptoms and Academic Stress in Two Samples of University Students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1–15. doi:10.1007/s10964-018-0822-9