Although adolescence has been regarded as a period of heightened emotionality, it is unclear whether this applies to all adolescents. The aim of this person-centered study was to identify distinct developmental trajectories of adolescent mood variability and to compare adolescents in different trajectories on their development of depressive symptoms, delinquency, and alcohol consumption in early to middle (ages 13-16) and middle to late adolescence (ages 16-20). Dutch adolescents (n = 482, 57.1% male) rated their daily emotions three weeks per year for five years using Internet daily diaries (ages 13-18, 15 assessment weeks in total). Based on these scores, day-to-day mood changes were calculated as an indicator of mood variability. Moreover, adolescents provided annual reports on depressive symptoms, delinquent acts, and alcohol consumption (ages 13-20). Results showed that most adolescents (88% of the total sample) followed a trajectory characterized by decreases in mood variability. However, a small minority (12%) followed a trajectory of increases in mood variability with a peak during middle adolescence. Adolescents with an increasing mood variability trajectory developed more depressive and delinquency symptoms in early to middle adolescence compared to adolescents with a decreasing mood variability trajectory, a difference that stayed stable towards late adolescence. Although the two groups did not differ concerning alcohol consumption in early to middle adolescence, adolescents from the increasing mood variability class experienced less steep increases in alcohol use from middle to late adolescence compared to adolescents from the decreasing mood variability class. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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Journal Developmental Psychology
Maciejewski, D.F., Keijsers, L., van Lier, P.A.C, Branje, S.J.T., Meeus, W.H.J., & Koot, J.M. (2019). Most Fare Well-But Some Do Not: Distinct Profiles of Mood Variability Development and Their Association With Adjustment During Adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 54(2), 434–448. doi:10.1037/dev0000650