Many adolescents experience feelings of depression, but adolescents living in rural areas may be at an increased risk for developing depressive symptomology. A review of the literature revealed several important psychosocial factors that can influence depressive symptoms in rural adolescents. These psychosocial factors include the external factors of family financial stress and parent depressed mood, and the internal factors of perceived social support, coping strategies, and optimism. Family financial stress, parent depressed mood, low levels of perceived social support, avoidance/disengagement coping strategies, and low levels of optimism were associated with increased depressive symptomology in rural adolescents. High levels of perceived social support (especially from family), use of approach/primary and secondary control coping strategies, and high levels of optimism worked as protective factors against the development of depressive symptoms. Due to the limited availability of mental health services in rural areas, school-based mental health services are discussed as an effective, affordable option for providing mental health care to students. In addition, the current state of school-based mental health care in Kentucky is reviewed.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2014


Theresa Botts

Mentor Department Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level