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Research has accumulated to demonstrate that depressive symptoms are associated with heterosexual romantic involvement during adolescence, but relatively little work has linked this body of literature to the existing literature on associations between early pubertal timing and adolescent depressive symptoms. This study extends prior research by examining whether early menarche and heterosexual romantic involvement interact to predict depressive symptoms in a national sample of Black adolescent girls (N = 607; M age = 15 years; 32 % Caribbean Black and 68 % African American). We further examined whether the adverse effects of heterosexual romantic involvement and early menarche would be mediated by perceived social support from mothers, fathers, and peers. Path analysis results indicated that girls who report current involvement in a heterosexual romantic relationship also reported high levels of perceived peer support than girls with no romantic involvement. High levels of perceived peer support, in turn, predicted low levels of depressive symptoms. Romantically involved girls with an early menarche also reported significantly less depressive symptoms than girls not romantically involved with an early menarche. Neither perceived maternal support nor perceived paternal support mediated associations between heterosexual romantic involvement, menarche, and depressive symptoms. The findings suggest that individual and social factors can impede heterosexual romantic involvement effects on depressive symptoms in Black adolescent girls.
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- Heterosexual Romantic Involvement and Depressive Symptoms in Black Adolescent Girls: Effects of Menarche and Perceived Social Support
Cleopatra Howard Caldwell
James S. Jackson
- Springer US