Childhood Social Withdrawal, Interpersonal Impairment, and Young Adult Depression: A Mediational Model

  • Shaina J. Katz
  • Christopher C. Conway
  • Constance L. Hammen
  • Patricia A. Brennan
  • Jake M. Najman
Article

Abstract

Building on interpersonal theories of depression, the current study sought to explore whether early childhood social withdrawal serves as a risk factor for depressive symptoms and diagnoses in young adulthood. The researchers hypothesized that social impairment at age 15 would mediate the association between social withdrawal at age 5 and depression by age 20. This mediational model was tested in a community sample of 702 Australian youth followed from mother’s pregnancy to youth age 20. Structural equation modeling analyses found support for a model in which childhood social withdrawal predicted adolescent social impairment, which, in turn, predicted depression in young adulthood. Additionally, gender was found to moderate the relationship between adolescent social impairment and depression in early adulthood, with females exhibiting a stronger association between social functioning and depression at the symptom and diagnostic level. This study illuminates one potential pathway from early developing social difficulties to later depressive symptoms and disorders.

Keywords

Social withdrawal Interpersonal functioning Social impairment Depression Community sample Longitudinal studies 

References

  1. Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Integrative guide to the 1991 CBCL, YSR, and TRF profiles. Burlington: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
  2. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2006). Multicultural understanding of child and adolescent psychopathology: Implications for mental health assessment. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  3. Alfano, M. S., Joiner, T. E., & Perry, M. (1994). Attributional style: a mediator of the shyness-depression relationship? Journal of Research in Personality, 28(3), 287–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  5. Bedford, A., & Foulds, G. (1978). Delusions-symptoms-states inventory of anxiety and depression. Windsor: NFER.Google Scholar
  6. Boivin, M., Hymel, S., & Bukowski, W. M. (1995). The roles of social withdrawal, peer rejection, and victimization by peers in predicting loneliness and depressed mood in childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 765–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., Ernst, J. M., Burleson, M., Berntson, G. G., Nouriani, B., et al. (2006). Loneliness within a nomological net: an evolutionary perspective. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 1054–1085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caldwell, M. S., Rudolph, K. D., Troop-Gordon, W., & Kim, D. (2004). Reciprocal influences among relational self-views, social disengagement, and peer stress during early adolescence. Child Development, 75, 1140–1154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caspi, A., Elder, G. H., Jr., & Bem, D. J. (1988). Moving away from the world: life-course patterns of shy children. Developmental Psychology, 24, 824–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Newman, D. L., & Silva, P. A. (1996). Behavioral observations at age 3 years predict adult psychiatric disorders: longitudinal evidence from a birth cohort. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 1033–1039.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Collins, L. M., Graham, J. W., & Flaherty, B. P. (1998). An alternative framework for defining mediation. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 33, 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coplan, R. J., Gavinski-Molina, M. H., Lagacé-Séguin, D., & Wichmann, C. (2001). When girls versus boys play alone: gender differences in the associates of nonsocial play in kindergarten. Developmental Psychology, 37, 464–474.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cui, X., & Vaillant, G. E. (1997). Does depression generate negative life events? Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 185, 145–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cyranowski, J. M., Frank, E., Young, E., & Shear, M. K. (2000). Adolescent onset of the gender difference in lifetime rates of major depression: a theoretical model. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 21–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Daley, S. E., Rizzo, C. J., & Gunderson, B. H. (2006). The longitudinal relation between personality disorder symptoms and depression in adolescence: the mediating role of interpersonal stress. Journal of Personality Disorders, 20(4), 352–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dill, J. C., & Anderson, C. A. (1999). Loneliness, shyness, and depression: The etiology and interrelationships of everyday problems in living. In T. Joiner & J. C. Coyne (Eds.), The Interactional Nature of Depression (pp. 93–125). Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dill, E. J., Vernberg, E. M., Fonagy, P., Twemlow, S. W., & Gamm, B. K. (2004). Negative affect in victimized children: the roles of social withdrawal, peer rejection, and attitudes toward bullying. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32(2), 159–173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eberhart, N. K., & Hammen, C. L. (2006). Interpersonal predictors of onset of depression during the transition to adulthood. Personal Relationships, 13, 195–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Findlay, L. C., Coplan, R. J., & Bowker, A. (2009). Keeping it all inside: shyness, internalizing coping strategies and socio-emotional adjustment in middle childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33, 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. First, M. B., Spitzer, R. L., Gibbon, M., & Williams, J. B. W. (1995). Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV Axis I disorders. Washington: American Psychiatric.Google Scholar
  22. Goodman, S. H., Rouse, M. H., Connell, A. M., Broth, M. R., Hall, C. M., & Heyward, D. (2011). Maternal depression and child psychopathology: a meta-analytic review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14, 1–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hammen, C. (1991a). The generation of stress in the course of unipolar depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100(4), 555–561.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hammen, C. (1991b). Depression runs in families: The social context of risk and resilience in children of depressed mothers. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Hammen, C. (2005). Stress and depression. Annual Reviews of Clinical Psychology, 1, 293–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hammen, C., & Brennan, P. A. (2002). Interpersonal dysfunction in depressed women: impairments independent of depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 72(2), 145–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hammen, C., Shih, J. H., & Brennan, P. A. (2004). Intergenerational transmission of depression: test of an interpersonal stress model in a community sample. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(3), 511–522.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hammen, C., Brennan, P. A., & Keenan-Miller, D. (2008). Patterns of adolescent depression to age 20: the role of maternal depression and youth interpersonal dysfunction. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 1189–1198.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hart, C. H., Yang, C., Nelson, L. J., Robinson, C. C., Olsen, J. A., Nelson, D. A., et al. (2000). Peer acceptance in early childhood and subtypes of socially withdrawn behaviour in China, Russia, and the United States. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 24(1), 73–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hirschfield, M. D., Montgomery, S. A., Keller, M. B., Kasper, S., Schatzberg, A. F., Möller, H., et al. (2000). Social functioning in depression: a review. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61(4), 268–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hymel, S., Rubin, K. H., Rowden, L., & LeMare, L. (1990). Children’s peer relationships: longitudinal prediction of internalizing and externalizing problems from middle to late childhood. Child Development, 61(6), 2004–2021.Google Scholar
  33. Joiner, T. E., Jr. (1997). Shyness and low social support as interactive diatheses, with loneliness as mediator: testing an interpersonal-personality view of vulnerability to depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106(3), 386–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Joiner, T., Coyne, J. C., & Blalock, J. (1999). On the interpersonal nature of depression: Overview and synthesis. In T. Joiner & J. C. Coyne (Eds.), The Interactional Nature of Depression (pp. 3–19). Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jokela, M., Kivimäki, M., Elovainio, M., & Keltikangas-Järvinen, L. (2009). Personality and having children: a two-way relationship. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(1), 218–230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Keeping, J. D., Najman, J. M., Morrison, J., Western, J. S., Andersen, M. J., & Williams, G. M. (1989). A prospective longitudinal study of social, psychological, and obstetrical factors in pregnancy: response rates and demographic characteristics of the 8,556 respondents. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 96, 289–297.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kerr, M., Lambert, W. W., & Bem, D. J. (1996). Life course sequelae of childhood shyness in Sweden: comparison with the United States. Developmental Psychology, 32(6), 1100–1105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lara, M. E., Leader, J., & Klein, D. N. (1997). The association between social support and course of depression: is it confounded with personality? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103(3), 478–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Leadbeater, B. J., Blatt, S. J., & Quinlan, D. M. (1995). Gender-linked vulnerabilities to depressive symptoms, stress, and problem behaviors in adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 5, 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. MacKinnon, D. P. (2000). Contrasts in multiple mediator models. In J. S. Rose, L. Chassin, C. C. Presson, & S. J. Sherman (Eds.), Multivariate applications in substance use research: New methods for new questions (pp. 141–160). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Mahon, N. E., Yarcheski, A., Yarcheski, T. J., Cannella, B. L., & Hanks, M. M. (2006). Meta-analytic study of predictors for loneliness during adolescence. Nursing Research, 55(5), 308–315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Masten, A. S., Morison, P., & Pelligrini, D. S. (1985). A revised class play method of peer assessment. Developmental Psychology, 3, 523–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mayeux, L., Bellmore, A. D., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2007). Predicting changes in adjustment using repeated measures of sociometric status. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 168(4), 401–424.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998). Mplus user’s guide. Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  46. Najman, J. M., Behrens, B. C., Andersen, M., Bor, W., O’Callaghan, M., & Williams, G. M. (1997). Impact of family type and family quality on child behavior problems: a longitudinal study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 1357–1365.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Najman, J. M., Williams, G. M., Nikles, J., Spence, S., Bor, W., O’Callaghan, M., et al. (2001). Bias influencing maternal reports of child behaviour and emotional state. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 36, 186–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Najman, J. M., Heron, M. A., Hayatbakhsh, M. R., Dingle, K., Jamrozik, K., Bor, W., et al. (2008). Screening in early childhood for risk of later mental health problems:a longitudinal study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 42, 694–700.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nelson, L. J., Rubin, K. H., & Fox, N. A. (2005). Social withdrawal, observed peer acceptance, and the development of self-perceptions in children ages 4 to 7 years. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 20, 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Neyer, F. J., & Lehnart, J. (2007). Relationships matter in personality development: evidence from an 8-year longitudinal study across young adulthood. Journal of Personality, 75(3), 535–568.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2001). Gender differences in depression. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 173–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ollendick, T. H., Greene, R. W., Weist, M. D., & Oswald, D. P. (1990). The predictive validity of teacher nominations: a five-year follow up of at-risk youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18, 699–713.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Orvaschel, H. (1995). Schedule for affective disorder and schizophrenia for school-age children epidemiologic version-5. Ft. Lauderdale: Nova Southeastern University, Center for Psychological Studies.Google Scholar
  54. Rubin, K. H. (2001). The play observation scale (POS). College Park: University of Maryland.Google Scholar
  55. Rubin, K. H., & Coplan, R. J. (2004). Paying attention to and not neglecting social withdrawal and social isolation. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50(4), 506–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rubin, K. H., Hymel, S., & Mills, R. S. L. (1989). Sociability and social withdrawal in childhood: stability and outcomes. Journal of Personality, 57(2), 237–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rubin, K. H., Chen, X., McDougall, P., Bowker, A., & McKinnon, J. (1995). The Waterloo Longitudinal Project: predicting adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems from early and mid-childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 51–64.Google Scholar
  58. Rubin, K. H., Burgess, K. B., & Coplan, R. J. (2002). Social withdrawal and shyness. In P. K. Smith & C. H. Hart (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of childhood social development (pp. 329–352). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  59. Rubin, K. H., Wojslawowicz, J. C., Rose-Krasnor, L., Booth-LaForce, C., & Burgess, K. B. (2006). The best friendships of shy/withdrawn children: prevalence, stability, and relationship quality. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 143–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rubin, K. H., Coplan, R. J., & Bowker, J. C. (2009). Social withdrawal in childhood. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 141–171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rudolph, K. D., Hammen, C., Burge, D., Lindberg, N., Herzberg, D., & Daley, S. E. (2000). Toward an interpersonal life-stress model of depression: the developmental context of stress generation. Development and Psychopathology, 12, 215–234.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Satorra, A., & Bentler, P. M. (2001). A scaled difference chi-square test statistic for moment structure analysis. Psychometrika, 66(4), 507–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Shih, J. H., Eberhart, N. K., Hammen, C. L., & Brennan, P. A. (2006). Differential exposure and reactivity to interpersonal stress predict sex differences in adolescent depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35(1), 103–115.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Strauss, C. C., Forehand, R., Smith, K., & Frame, C. L. (1986). The association between social withdrawal and internalizing problems of children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 14(4), 525–535.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vargo, B. (1996). Are withdrawn children at risk? Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 11(2), 166–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zlotnick, C., Kohn, R., Keitner, G., & Della Grotta, S. A. (2000). The relationship between quality of interpersonal relationships and major depressive disorder: findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Journal of Affective Disorders, 59(3), 205–215.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaina J. Katz
    • 1
  • Christopher C. Conway
    • 1
  • Constance L. Hammen
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Brennan
    • 2
  • Jake M. Najman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.School of Population HealthUniversity of Queensland, AustraliaBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations