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14-05-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2019

Stress-Buffering Effects of Social Support on Depressive Problems: Perceived vs. Received Support and Moderation by Parental Depression

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2019
Erica Szkody, Cliff McKinney
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The impact of parental depressive problems on children’s depressive symptoms has been widely studied. The stress-buffering hypothesis states that social support acts as a protective factor between the impacts of stress from negative life events on physical and psychological health. The current study examined the stress-buffering hypothesis in terms of the relationship between parental depressive problems and emerging adult depressive problems.


Participants included 708 emerging adults who reported on their parents’ and their own depressive problems as measured by the Adult Behavior Checklist and Adult Self Report, respectively. Participants also reported their perceived social support using a modified version of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, received social support using the Inventory of Socially Supportive Behavior, and negative life events using the Risky Behavior and Stressful Events Scale.


Neither perceived nor received social support significantly moderated the aforementioned relationship. When parental depressive problems were added to the model, the three-way interaction among received social support, perceived stress, and paternal depressive problems on male depressive problems was significant (b = 0.22).


Perceptions of available support may be more important than received support when buffering between stress and depression. Likewise, parental depression may have a stronger influence on emerging adult outcomes over and beyond negative life events. Other significant pathways and models were discussed.

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