CitationLetkiewicz, A. M.; Li, L. Y.; Hoffman, L. M. K.; & Shankman, S. A. (2023). A prospective study of the relative contribution of adolescent peer support quantity and quality to depressive symptoms. J Child Psychol Psychiatry.
AbstractBACKGROUND: During adolescence, peer support has an increasingly important role in identity formation and well-being. Prior research has identified that lack of social support from peers in adolescence is a potent risk factor for depression. Two ways that social support has been operationalized is by the number of one's friends (i.e., 'quantity') and perception of one's network (i.e., 'quality'). Typically, these aspects of peer support are assessed separately. METHODS: Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 3,857), this study sought to test whether (1) adolescent depression relates to having fewer friends versus lower quality friendships, (2) these aspects of adolescent peer support prospectively predict depression in adulthood, (3) gender moderates the effects of peer support on depression, and (4) these aspects of peer support buffer the effects of stressful life events on depression. RESULTS: Peer support quality uniquely predicted depression in adolescence and adulthood among both males and females. The effect of peer support quality on depressive symptoms, however, was greater for females than males. By contrast, peer support quantity did not uniquely predict depression for males or females. CONCLUSIONS: Qualitative aspects of adolescent peer support uniquely contribute to mental health not only in adolescence, but in adulthood as well. Potential processes through which peer support relates to depression are discussed, as well as implications for treatment.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJ Child Psychol Psychiatry
Author(s)Letkiewicz, A. M.
Li, L. Y.
Hoffman, L. M. K.
Shankman, S. A.