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01-04-2011 | Uitgave 3/2011 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2011

The Interaction Between Pubertal Timing and Peer Popularity for Boys and Girls: An Integration of Biological and Interpersonal Perspectives on Adolescent Depression

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2011
Hanneke A. Teunissen, Caroline B. Adelman, Mitchell J. Prinstein, Renske Spijkerman, Evelien A. P. Poelen, Rutger C. M. E. Engels, Ron H. J. Scholte


The transition to adolescence marks a time of sharply increased vulnerability to the development of depression, particularly among girls. Past research has examined isolated risk factors from individual theoretical models (e.g., biological, interpersonal, and cognitive) of depression, but few have examined integrative models. This study investigated the conjoint effects of early pubertal timing and popularity in the longitudinal prediction of depressive symptoms. A total of 319 girls and 294 boys (ages 11–14) provided information on their pubertal status, depressive symptoms, and the social status (i.e., popularity) of their peers. Adolescents completed a second measure of depressive symptoms 11 months after the initial time point. Findings supported an integrated biological-interpersonal model in explaining the development of depressive symptoms during adolescence. Early pubertal development was associated with increase in depressive symptoms only when accompanied by low levels of popularity. High levels of popularity buffered the association between early pubertal development and later depressive symptoms. Unexpectedly, these results were significant both for girls and boys. Results are discussed in terms of dynamic systems theories.

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