, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 47-61

Relationship Between Multiple Sources of Perceived Social Support and Psychological and Academic Adjustment in Early Adolescence: Comparisons Across Gender

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Abstract

The current study investigated gender differences in the relationship between sources of perceived support (parent, teacher, classmate, friend, school) and psychological and academic adjustment in a sample of 636 (49% male) middle school students. Longitudinal data were collected at two time points in the same school year. The study provided psychometric support for the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (Malecki et al., A working manual on the development of the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (2000). Unpublished manuscript, Northern Illinois University, 2003) across gender, and demonstrated gender differences in perceptions of support in early adolescence. In addition, there were significant associations between all sources of support with depressive symptoms, anxiety, self-esteem, and academic adjustment, but fewer significant unique effects of each source. Parental support was a robust unique predictor of adjustment for both boys and girls, and classmates’ support was a robust unique predictor for boys. These results illustrate the importance of examining gender differences in the social experience of adolescents with careful attention to measurement and analytic issues.