Depression and social supports in adolescence



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The present investigation examined the relationship between social support and depression in adolescents. Social support has been defined and assessed in a variety of ways which often lead to conflicting results and confusion. For this investigation, six dimensions of social support were examined in relation to depression. Additionally, the relationship between stressful life events and parent-adolescent conflict were examined in relation to depression. The sample consisted of 43 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 who came to an outpatient clinic for an appointment. A self-report measure of depression was obtained in addition to a clinician's report. Approximately 50% of the sample was diagnosed as depressed. The data revealed that there is a relationship between depression and some dimensions of social support. Two dimensions, quality of the relationships and number of people who provided positive support, appeared to be strong correlates of depression. Also significant, but to a lesser degree, were the dimensions of frequency of contact, change in relationships, and satisfaction with the support received. Indices of negative support did not correlate with depression. There were also no significant correlations between depression and life events or depression and parent-child conflict. The results suggest that depressed adolescents report more dissatisfaction with their relationships, less contact, more deterioration, fewer people available for support, and poorer quality of relationships than clinic non-depressed adolescents. This may have some implications for treatment and assessment of depression in adolescents.



Depression, Mental, Youth--Family relationships