Relationship Between Multiple Sources of Perceived Social Support and Psychological and Academic Adjustment in Early Adolescence: Comparisons Across Gender

  • Sandra Yu Rueger
  • Christine Kerres Malecki
  • Michelle Kilpatrick Demaray
Empirical Research

Abstract

The current study investigated gender differences in the relationship between sources of perceived support (parent, teacher, classmate, friend, school) and psychological and academic adjustment in a sample of 636 (49% male) middle school students. Longitudinal data were collected at two time points in the same school year. The study provided psychometric support for the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (Malecki et al., A working manual on the development of the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (2000). Unpublished manuscript, Northern Illinois University, 2003) across gender, and demonstrated gender differences in perceptions of support in early adolescence. In addition, there were significant associations between all sources of support with depressive symptoms, anxiety, self-esteem, and academic adjustment, but fewer significant unique effects of each source. Parental support was a robust unique predictor of adjustment for both boys and girls, and classmates’ support was a robust unique predictor for boys. These results illustrate the importance of examining gender differences in the social experience of adolescents with careful attention to measurement and analytic issues.

Keywords

Adolescence Social support Gender differences CASSS Psychometric 

References

  1. Bogard, K. L. (2005). Affluent adolescents, depression, and drug use: The role of adults in their lives. Adolescence, 40, 281–306.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cheng, C. (1997). Role of perceived social support on depression in Chinese adolescents: A prospective study examining the buffering model. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, 800–820. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.1997.tb00660.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheng, S., & Chan, A. C. M. (2004). The multidimensional scale of perceived social support: Dimensionality and age and gender differences in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 1359–1369. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2004.01.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.155.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Colarossi, L. G., & Eccles, J. S. (2003). Differential effects of support providers on adolescents’ mental health. Social Work Research, 27, 19–30.Google Scholar
  7. Davidson, L. M., & Demaray, M. K. (2007). Social support as a moderator between victimization and internalizing-externalizing distress from bullying. School Psychology Review, 36, 383–405.Google Scholar
  8. Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2002). Critical levels of social support associated with student adjustment. School Psychology Quarterly, 17, 213–241. doi:10.1521/scpq.17.3.213.20883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2003). Perceptions of the frequency and importance of social support by students classified as victims, bullies, and bully/victims in an urban middle school. School Psychology Review, 32, 471–489.Google Scholar
  10. Demaray, M. K., Malecki, C. M., Davidson, L. M., Hodgson, K. K., & Rebus, P. J. (2005). The relationship between social support and student adjustment: A longitudinal analysis. Psychology in the Schools, 42, 691–706. doi:10.1002/pits.20120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dubow, E. F., Tisak, J., Causey, D., Hryshko, A., & Reid, G. (1991). A two-year longitudinal study of stressful life events, social support, and social problem-solving skills: Contributions to children’s behavioral and academic adjustment. Child Development, 62, 583–599. doi:10.2307/1131133.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Dunn, S. E., Putallaz, M., Sheppard, B. H., & Lindstrom, R. (1987). Social support and adjustment in gifted adolescents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 467–473. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.79.4.467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eschenbeck, H., Kohlmann, C. W., & Lohaus, A. (2007). Gender differences in coping strategies in children and adolescents. Journal of Individual Differences, 28, 18–26. doi:10.1027/1614-0001.28.1.18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frey, C. U., & Röthlisberger, C. (1996). Social support in healthy adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25, 17–31. doi:10.1007/BF01537378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frydenberg, E., & Lewis, R. (1991). Adolescent coping: The different ways in which boys and girls cope. Journal of Adolescence, 14, 119–133. doi:10.1016/0140-1971(91)90025-M.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Frydenberg, E., & Lewis, R. (1993). Boys play sports and girls turn to others: Age, gender and ethnicity as determinants of coping. Journal of Adolescence, 16, 253–266. doi:10.1006/jado.1993.1024.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Furman, W., & Buhrmester, D. (1992). Age and sex differences in perceptions of networks of personal relationships. Child Development, 63, 103–115. doi:10.2307/1130905.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Harter, S. (1985). Manual for the social support scale for children. Denver: University of Denver.Google Scholar
  20. Helsen, M., Vollebergh, W., & Meeus, W. (2000). Social support from parents and friends and emotional problems in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29, 319–335. doi:10.1023/A:1005147708827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoffman, M. A., Ushpiz, V., & Levy-Shiff, R. (1988). Social support and self-esteem in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 17, 307–316. doi:10.1007/BF01537672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. House, J. S. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  23. Jackson, Y., & Warren, J. S. (2000). Appraisal, social support, and life events: Predicting outcome behavior in school-age children. Child Development, 71, 1441–1457. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00238.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Kerr, D. C. R., Preuss, L. J., & King, C. A. (2006). Suicidal adolescents’ social support from family and peers: Gender-specific associations with psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 103–113. doi:10.1007/s10802-005-9005-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Landman-Peeters, K. M. C., Hartman, C. A., van der Pompe, G., den Boer, J. A., Minderaa, R. B., & Ormel, J. (2005). Gender differences in the relation between social support, problems in parent-offspring communication, and depression and anxiety. Social Science and Medicine, 60, 2549–2559. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.10.024.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Licitra-Kleckler, D. M., & Waas, G. A. (1993). Perceived social support among high-stress adolescents: The role of peers and family. Journal of Adolescent Research, 8, 381–402. doi:10.1177/074355489384003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lifrak, P. D., McKay, J. R., Rostain, A., Alterman, A. I., & O’Brien, C. P. (1997). Relationship of perceived competencies, perceived social support, and gender to substance use in young adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 933–940. doi:10.1097/00004583-199707000-00015.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Maccoby, E. E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. The American Psychologist, 45, 513–520. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.45.4.513.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2002). Measuring perceived social support: Development of the child and adolescent social support scale. Psychology in the Schools, 39, 1–18. doi:10.1002/pits.10004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2003). What type of support do they need? Investigating student adjustment as related to emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental support. School Psychology Quarterly, 18, 231–252. doi:10.1521/scpq.18.3.231.22576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2006). Social support as a buffer in the relationship between socioeconomic status and academic performance. School Psychology Quarterly, 21, 375–395. doi:10.1037/h0084129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Malecki, C. K., Demaray, M. K., & Elliott, S. N.(2003). A working manual on the development of the child and adolescent social support scale (2000). Unpublished manuscript. Northern Illinois University.Google Scholar
  33. Moran, P. B., & Eckenrode, J. (1991). Gender differences in the costs and benefits of peer relationships during adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Research, 6, 396–409. doi:10.1177/074355489164002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. (1998). Mplus user’s guide. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  35. Newman, B. M., Newman, P. R., Griffen, S., O’Connor, K., & Spas, J. (2007). The relationship of social support to depressive symptoms in the transition to high school. Adolescence, 42, 441–459.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, J. C. (1994). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw Hill, Inc.Google Scholar
  37. Reddy, R., Rhodes, J. E., & Mulhall, P. (2003). The influence of teacher support on student adjustment in the middle school years: A latent growth curve study. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 119–138. doi:10.1017/S0954579403000075.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. (2004). The behavioral assessment system for children (2nd ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service, Inc.Google Scholar
  39. Rosenfeld, L. B., Richman, J. M., & Bowen, G. L. (2000). Social support networks and school outcomes: The centrality of the teacher. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 17, 205–225. doi:10.1023/A:1007535930286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rueger, S. Y., Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. Gender differences in the relationship between perceived social support and student adjustment during early adolescence. School Psychology Quarterly, in press.Google Scholar
  41. Schraedley, M. A., Gotlib, I. H., & Hayward, C. (1999). Gender differences in correlates of depressive symptoms in adolescents. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 25, 98–108. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(99)00038-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Sheeber, L., Hops, H., Alpert, A., Davis, B., & Andrews, J. (1997). Family support and conflict: Prospective relations to adolescent depression. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 25, 333–344. doi:10.1023/A:1025768504415.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Slavin, L. A., & Rainer, K. L. (1990). Gender differences in emotional support and depressive symptoms among adolescents: A prospective analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 407–421. doi:10.1007/BF00938115.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Tardy, C. H. (1985). Social support measurement. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13, 187–202. doi:10.1007/BF00905728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Van Beest, M., & Baerveldt, C. (1999). The relationship between adolescents’ social support from parents and from peers. Adolescence, 34, 194–201.Google Scholar
  46. Vandenberg, R. J., & Lance, C. E. (2000). A review and synthesis of the measurement invariance literature: Suggestions, practices, and recommendations for organizational research. Organizational Research Methods, 3, 4–70. doi:10.1177/109442810031002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wall, J., Covell, K., & MacIntyre, P. D. (1999). Implications of social supports for adolescents’ education and career aspirations. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 31, 63–71. doi:10.1037/h0087074.Google Scholar
  48. Way, N., & Robinson, M. G. (2003). A longitudinal study of the effects of family, friends, and school experiences on the psychological adjustment of ethnic minority, low-SES adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 18, 324–346. doi:10.1177/0743558403018004001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Weist, M. D., Freedman, A. H., Paskewitz, D. A., Proescher, E. J., & Flaherty, L. T. (1995). Urban youth under stress: Empirical identification of protective factors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 24, 705–719. doi:10.1007/BF01536952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Winemiller, D. R., Mitchell, M. E., Sutliff, F., & Cline, D. J. (1993). Measurement strategies in social support: A descriptive review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 49, 638–648. doi:10.1002/1097-4679(199309)49:5<638::AID-JCLP2270490505>3.0.CO;2-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Ystgaard, M. (1997). Life stress, social support and psychological distress in late adolescence. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 32, 277–283.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Yu Rueger
    • 1
  • Christine Kerres Malecki
    • 1
  • Michelle Kilpatrick Demaray
    • 1
  1. 1.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

Personalised recommendations