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01-04-2014 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 4/2014

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2014

Effects of Perceived Support from Mothers, Fathers, and Teachers on Depressive Symptoms During the Transition to Middle School

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2014
Auteurs:
Sandra Yu Rueger, Pan Chen, Lyndsay N. Jenkins, Hyung Joon Choe

Abstract

The transition to middle school can be a significant stressor for young adolescents, leading to increases in depression for those who are vulnerable. The current study examined how perceived support from mothers, fathers, and teachers independently and interactively predicted developmental patterns of depressive symptoms during adolescents’ transition to middle school, and gender differences in these effects of social support. Four timepoints of data were collected from 1,163 participants (48.5 % boys) enrolled in an ethnically diverse suburban middle school in the Midwest between 1.25 and 20.50 months after these participants entered the 7th grade. The results from growth curve modeling indicated that levels of depressive symptoms decreased over time for boys but remained stable for girls during the developmental period examined. There is also evidence that support from mothers, fathers, and teachers independently and inversely predicted levels of depressive symptoms at the beginning of the 7th grade, and support from both mothers and fathers predicted changes in these symptoms. Effects of mothers’ support and teachers’ support, but not the effect of fathers’ support, remained significant in reducing levels of depressive symptoms at 20.50 months from middle school entry. Furthermore, the protective effect of mothers’ support was stronger for girls than for boys. Finally, mothers’ support interacted with fathers’ support and teachers’ support to predict levels of depressive symptoms. Specifically, the protective effect of mothers’ support was more salient when fathers’ support was low, and vice versa. In contrast, support from mothers and teachers had an amplifying, synergistic effect.

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