- Although previous research has implicated adolescent depression in academic difficulties, few studies have explored the role of cognitive/personality factors in this area. To address this gap, the present study examines the role of self‐criticism in academic functioning among early adolescent students over a 1‐year interval. We hypothesized and found that adolescent self‐criticism and depressive symptomatology interacted to predict decreased grade point average (GPA) over time, an interaction that was found predominantly in boys. This finding illustrates the need to integrate research on personality and psychopathology into educational psychology. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol.