Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 733–753 | Cite as

The protective role of coping and social resources for depressive symptoms among young adolescents

  • Mindy Herman-Stahl
  • Anne C. Petersen
Article

Abstract

Early adolescence is a period of the life course involving high levels of challenge that are stressful for some, perhaps resulting in depressive symptoms. In this study, adolescents were divided into four groups based on indices of depression and negative life events. Group differences in coping style, mastery, optimism, and social resources as well as group differences in patterns of change were investigated. Participants were 458 adolescents in sixth and seventh grade from a rural working class community. Subjects were assessed twice over a one-year period. Analyses revealed that the four groups were characterized by different levels of coping and social resources. Asymptomatic youth reported higher levels of optimism, mastery, active coping, and more positive relationships with parents and peers than did symptomatic adolescents. These same characteristics distinguished the resilient adolescents from the vulnerable adolescents, suggesting potential stress-buffering effects. One year later, the adolescents who were low on both depressive symptoms and negative life events continued to report more individual and contextual resources than the adolescents in the other groups.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mindy Herman-Stahl
    • 1
  • Anne C. Petersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Arizona Department of Health ServicesOffice of Substance Abuse and General Mental HealthPhoenix
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaUSA

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