Depression socialization within friendship groups at the transition to adolescence: The roles of gender and group centrality as moderators of peer influence

Christopher C. Conway*, Diana Rancourt, Caroline B. Adelman, William J. Burk, Mitchell J. Prinstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tests of interpersonal theories of depression have established that elevated depression levels among peers portend increases in individuals' own depressive symptoms, a phenomenon known as depression socialization. Susceptibility to this socialization effect may be enhanced during the transition to adolescence as the strength of peer influence rises dramatically. Socialization of depressive symptoms among members of child and adolescent friendship groups was examined over a 1-year period among 648 youth in grades six through eight. Sociometric methods were utilized to identify friendship groups and ascertain the prospective effect of group-level depressive symptoms on youths' own depressive symptoms. Hierarchical linear modeling results revealed a significant socialization effect and indicated that this effect was most potent for (a) girls and (b) individuals on the periphery of friendship groups. Future studies would benefit from incorporating child and adolescent peer groups as a developmentally salient context for interpersonal models of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-867
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume120
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Friendship group
  • Peer influence
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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