Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 893–905 | Cite as

Reciprocal relationships between symptoms of depression and parental support during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood

Original Paper


This study applies latent growth curve analysis to data from three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 10,828) and finds that symptoms of depression and social support interact with one another in a dynamic fashion across the transition from adolescence (mean age at Wave 1 = 15.28 years) to young adulthood (mean age at Wave 3 = 21.65 years). Parental support during adolescence is inversely associated with initial symptoms of depression for girls and boys, although adolescent girls with low levels of parental support begin the study period with significantly higher levels of depressive symptomatology than their male counterparts. In addition, adolescents who begin the study period with higher levels of depressive symptomatology report less parental support during young adulthood. Finally, regardless of their initial level of depressive symptoms, girls and boys who experience increased symptoms of depression over time also report lower levels of parental support at the end of the study period.


Depression Social support Gender differences Transition to young adulthood 



This research uses 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 due 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 ( The author acknowledges the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program for its financial support and thanks Debra Umberson, Robert Crosnoe, Catherine Ross, John Mirowsky, and Jennifer Matjasko for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society ScholarUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco, BerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Center for Health and CommunityUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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