Intra- and inter-individual differences in adolescent depressive mood: The role of relationships with parents and friends

S Zhang, L Baams, Daphne van de Bongardt, J S Dubas

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Abstract: Utilizing four waves of data from 1126 secondary school Dutch adolescents (Mage = 13.95 at the first wave; 53% boys), the current study examined the interplay between parent-adolescent and friend-adolescent relationship quality (satisfaction and conflict) in relation to adolescents’ depressive mood. Using multilevel analyses, the interacting effects of parent/friend relationship quality on depressive mood were tested at both the intra- and inter-individual level. Analyses at the intra-individual level investigated whether individual depressive mood fluctuated along with changes in their social relationships regardless of one’s general level of depressive mood; and analyses at the inter-individual level examined whether the average differences in depressive mood between adolescents were associated with different qualities of social relationships. We interpreted the patterns of interactions between parent and friend relationships using four theoretical models: the reinforcement, toxic friends, compensation, and additive model. The results demonstrate the covariation of parent- and friend- relationship quality with adolescents’ depressive mood, and highlight that parent and peer effects are not independent from each other—affirming the compensation and additive models at the intra-individual and the reinforcement and additive models at the inter-individual level. The findings highlight the robustness of the protective effects of parent and peer support and the deleterious effects of conflictual relationships for adolescent mental health. The results have implications for both the theoretical and practical design of (preventive) interventions aimed at decreasing adolescents’ depressive mood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-824
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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latest academic publication (as of 4 July 2018)


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