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29-09-2021 | Empirical Research

Longitudinal Associations Between Prosociality and Depressive Symptoms in Chinese Children: The Mediating Role of Peer Preference

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Auteurs:
Guomin Jin, Rui Fu, Dan Li, Xinyin Chen, Junsheng Liu
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Abstract

Despite empirical findings that prosociality is related to decreased depressive symptoms in children, little is known about the directionality of the relations and the mechanisms that may explain the relations. To address these gaps, this study examined bi-directional associations between prosociality and depressive symptoms and the mediating effects of peer preference on the associations in Chinese children. Multi-wave longitudinal data were collected each year from Grades 3 to 6 in a sample of children in China (initial N = 1012; 51.6% girls; initial Mage = 8.68 years). The results showed that prosociality and depression negatively contributed to each other over time. Prosociality also predicted increased peer preference, which in turn contributed to fewer depressive symptoms, suggesting that peer preference was a mediator of the contributions of prosociality to depressive symptoms. These findings indicate the temporal ordering of prosociality and depressive symptoms and the processes in the development of depressive symptoms in Chinese children.

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