The goal of the current study was to document patterns of stability and change in adolescent depression and suicide risk detected via universal depression screening in pediatric primary care and to determine who may go on to experience emerging risk.
Retrospective electronic health record information (sociodemographic data and depression screening results for 2 timepoints) was extracted for adolescents aged 12–17 who attended well-visits between November 15, 2017, and February 1, 2020, in a large pediatric primary care network. A total of 27,335 adolescents with 2 completed depression screeners were included in the current study.
While most adolescents remained at low risk for depression and suicide across the 2 timepoints, others experienced emerging risk (i.e., low risk at time 1 but elevated risk at time 2), decreasing risk (i.e., high risk at time 1 but low risk at time 2) or stable high risk for depression or suicide. Odds of experiencing emerging depression and suicide risk were higher among adolescents who were female (compared to males), Black (compared to White), and had Medicaid insurance (compared to private insurance). Odds of experiencing emerging depression risk were also higher among older adolescents (compared to younger adolescents) as well as adolescents who identified as Hispanic/Latino (compared to non-Hispanic/Latino).
Findings can inform symptom monitoring and opportunities for prevention in primary care.