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The transition to college is often a stressful time where individuals are launching from the family. Despite awareness of this crucial transitional period, few studies have examined the enduring influence of the family environment on emerging adult mental health. We utilized a stress process framework to examine the impact of an adverse family environment, which accounts for multiple dimensions of family processes including perceptions of the childhood family environment, lack of parental support, and parental psychological control, on emerging adult depressive symptoms. The study explores a process model mediated by self-efficacy and moderated by social provisions, using latent variable structural equation modeling with a sample of 154 college students from a large southeastern, United States University. As hypothesized by the stress process model, an adverse family environment was related to higher levels of emerging adult depressive symptomology indirectly through self-efficacy, such that a more aversive family environment was related to lower levels of self-efficacy and lower levels of self-efficacy were related to more depressive symptoms. Results also indicate that the presence of social provisions can alleviate the strain of an adverse family environment on an individual’s sense of self and mental health. Discussion of the importance of families and other forms of social support, during emerging adulthood, as well as implications for intervention timing and method are included.
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- Adverse Family Influences on Emerging Adult Depressive Symptoms: A Stress Process Approach to Identifying Intervention Points
Anthony J. Ferraro
- Springer US