Depression is associated with a multiplicity of adverse outcomes in adolescence, including peer victimization and low self-esteem. Depressive symptoms, peer victimization, and self-esteem are linked in cross-sectional studies, but no longitudinal study has been conducted assessing their developmental pathways in one integrated model across adolescence. We explored their temporal sequencing in a normative sample of 612 Canadian adolescents (54% girls) assessed annually over 5 years (Grade 7 to Grade 11). Potential confounders such as biological sex, ethnicity/race, and parent income and education were statistically controlled. We found evidence for the
vulnerabilitymodel (self-esteem predicting depression) and the symptoms-drivenmodel (depression predicting peer victimization). Our findings also supported the integration of these pathways into a self-perception drivenmodel characterized by the indirect effect of self-esteem on later peer victimization via depressive symptoms. Specifically, poor self-esteem initiated a developmental cascade that led to poor mood and poor peer relations. These results highlight the importance of helping youth form a healthy identity that promotes positive mental health and peer relations, and the need to intervene with depressed, victimized, and at-risk adolescents to instill positive self-regard. Our results also emphasize the central role that self-perceptions play in the onset and maintenance of poor outcomes.