Depressive Symptoms, Stress, and Support: Gendered Trajectories From Adolescence to Young Adulthood
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Stressful transitions in adolescence increase depressive symptoms, especially among girls. However, little is known about this risk as adolescents mature into young adulthood, especially about how parental support affects depression trajectories during this period. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this analysis investigates the role of gender in structuring the associations among stressful life events, parental support, and depression. Females reported more depressive symptoms at the outset of the study, a rank order that persisted along declining depression trajectories into young adulthood. In addition, stress accounts for the decline in trajectories for females but not males. Support from both parents has a salubrious effect on mental health, regardless of gender, but this effect dissipates as adolescents age into adulthood.
KEY WORDSgender stress social support parents adolescents
This research uses contractual data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth/contract.html). This research has been supported by National Institute on Aging training grant no. T32 Ag00155 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are grateful for helpful comments on earlier drafts provided by the CPC Life Course Working Group.
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