Background: Negative self-perceptions is one of the most common symptoms of depression in young people, and has been found to be strongly associated with severity of depression symptoms. Psychological treatments for adolescent depression are only moderately effective. Understanding the role and importance of these self-perceptions may help to inform and improve treatments. The aim of this review was to examine self-evaluation as a characteristic of adolescent depression, and as an active ingredient in treatment for adolescent depression. Methods: We conducted a scoping review which included quantitative and qualitative studies of any design that reported on self-evaluation as a characteristic of, or focus of treatment for, adolescent depression. Participants were required to be 11–24 years and experiencing elevated symptoms of depression or a diagnosis. We also met with 14 expert advisory groups of young people with lived experience, clinicians, and researchers, for their input. Findings from 46 peer-reviewed research studies are presented alongside views of 64 expert advisors, to identify what is known and what is missing in the literature. Results: Three overarching topics were identified following the review and reflections from advisors: 1) What does it look like? 2) Where does it come from? and 3) How can we change it? The literature identified that young people view themselves more negatively and less positively when depressed, however expert advisors explained that view of self is complex and varies for each individual. Literature identified preliminary evidence of a bidirectional relationship between self-evaluation and depression, however, advisors raised questions regarding the influences and mechanisms involved, such as being influenced by the social environment, and by the cognitive capacity of the individual. Finally, there was a consensus from the literature and expert advisors that self-evaluation can improve across treatment. However, research literature was limited, with only 11 identified studies covering a diverse range of interventions and self-evaluation measures. Various barriers and facilitators to working on self-evaluation in treatment were highlighted by advisors, as well as suggestions for treatment approaches. Conclusions: Findings indicate the importance of self-evaluation in adolescent depression, but highlight the need for more research on which treatments and treatment components are most effective in changing self-evaluation.
- Youth involvement