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01-02-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 3/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 3/2016

The Relationship Between Family Functioning and Adolescent Depressive Symptoms: The Role of Emotional Clarity

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 3/2016
Auteurs:
Rachel D. Freed, Liza M. Rubenstein, Issar Daryanani, Thomas M. Olino, Lauren B. Alloy

Abstract

Emotion regulation has been implicated in the etiology of depression. A first step in adaptive emotion regulation involves emotional clarity, the ability to recognize and differentiate one’s emotional experience. As family members are critical in facilitating emotional understanding and communication, we examined the impact of family functioning on adolescent emotional clarity and depressive symptoms. We followed 364 adolescents (ages 14–17; 52.5% female; 51.4 % Caucasian, 48.6% African American) and their mothers over 2 years (3 time points) and assessed emotional clarity, depressive symptoms, and adolescents’ and mothers’ reports of family functioning. Emotional clarity mediated the relationship between adolescents’ reports of family functioning and depressive symptoms at all time points cross-sectionally, and according to mothers’ reports of family functioning at Time 1 only. There was no evidence of longitudinal mediation for adolescents’ or mothers’ reports of family functioning. Thus, family functioning, emotional clarity, and depressive symptoms are strongly related constructs during various time points in adolescence, which has important implications for intervention, especially within the family unit.

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