In the present study, depression and anxiety were evaluated in a sample of 81 secondary school-aged adolescents, hospitalised at the Adolescent Department, Centre for Mental Health, Ljubljana. The results were compared with those obtained in a control group of 122 secondary school students. The purpose of the study was to identify risk factors for adolescent anxiety and depressive disorders. Data were collected using a clinical interview, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDT) and the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Suicidal behaviour in adolescents was found to be significantly associated with higher levels of depression. Also, there was significant correlation between low self esteem and increased levels of anxiety and depression. Parental alcoholism had a strong impact on the development of adolescent depression, while there was no association between mental disease in one of the parents and the level of depression in their growing up children. Large families with two or more children were found to represent an important factor protecting against depression and anxiety. As demonstrated by the discharge diagnoses, the level of depression was the highest in the group of individuals with conduct disorders, and the lowest in adolescents admitted to hospital as depressed. The psychological tests used, especially STAI, had only a limited value in differentiating depression from other nonpsychotic disorders. The unexpectedly high rate of depression in adolescents with conduct disorders was the most important finding of the study, which will have to be taken into account in our future clinical work with adolescent patients.