Depressive Symptoms, Stress, and Support: Gendered Trajectories From Adolescence to Young Adulthood
- 2.2k Downloads
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.
- Bowlby, J. (1969/1982). Attachment and Loss: Vol. 1. Attachment. Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
- Cobb, S. (1976). Social support as a moderator of life stress. Psychosom. Med. 88: 300–314.Google Scholar
- Colarossi, L. G. (2001). Adolescent gender differences in social support: Structure, function, and provider type. Soc. Work Res. 25: 233–241.Google Scholar
- Colarossi, L. G., and Eccles, J. S. (2003). Differential effects of support providers on adolescents’ mental health. Soc. Work Res. 27: 19–30.Google Scholar
- Elder, G. H., Jr. (1998). The life course and human development. In Lerner, R. M. (Ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical Models of Human Development. Wiley, New York, pp. 939–991.Google Scholar
- Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity, Youth and Crisis. Norton, New York.Google Scholar
- Hill, J. P., and Lynch, M. E. (1983). The intensification of gender-related role expectations during early adolescence. In Brooks-Gunn, J. and Peterson, A. C. (Eds.), Girls at Puberty: Biological and Psychological Perspectives. Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
- Liem, R., and Liam, J. H. (1981). Relations among social class, life events, and mental illness: A comment on findings and methods. In Dohrenwend, B. S. and Dohrenwend, B. P. (Eds.), Stressful Life Events and Their Contexts. Prodist, New York, pp. 234–256.Google Scholar
- Pearlin, L. (1985). Social structure and processes of social support. In Cohen, S. and Syme, S. L. (Eds.), Social Support and Health. Academic Press, Orlando, pp. 45–60.Google Scholar
- Rieker, P. P., and Bird, C. E. (2000). Sociological explanations of gender differences in mental health and physical health. In Bird, C. E., Conrad, P., and Fremont, A. M. (Eds.), The Handbook of Medical Sociology, 5th edn. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, pp. 98–113.Google Scholar