Degree Level


First Advisor

Boies, Lori

LCSH subject

Depression in adolescence; Recreational marijuana use


Depression is a mental health disorder found worldwide affecting all demographics and is a major cause of global disability. For youth, depression can be very serious as it is a leading contributor to suicide, a top three cause of adolescent death. When we examine the onset of depression in adolescence, we also must acknowledge that youth access and usage of mental health resources and interactions with their communities may influence their outlook. We set out to examine how the co-occurrence of past year marijuana use and major depressive episodes (MDE), the variable we use to measure youth depression in this study, relates to mental health services as well as suicidal ideation and planning. The study focused on adolescents 12 to 17 years of age who had experienced a past year MDE, utilizing the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2021 public use data file. Using Pearson’s Chi-squared analysis, odds ratios (95% CI), and logistic regressions, we found that youth who experienced past year MDE were more likely than the general youth population to also partake in risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use. We also found that youth who were past year marijuana users and experienced a MDE in the last year had higher odds of experimenting with alcohol and drugs and receiving mental health services. We noted that drug prevention programs both inside and outside of schools did not appear to have a significant effect on marijuana usage across the general population and MDE youth; while higher GPAs and student participation in extracurricular activities was found to have a protective association with the co-occurrence of MDE and past year marijuana use.

Publication Date

Spring 2024

Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.