Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 531–544 | Cite as

Relational Victimization and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence: Moderating Effects of Mother, Father, and Peer Emotional Support

Empirical Research

Abstract

Adolescence heralds a unique period of vulnerability to depressive symptoms. This longitudinal study examined relational victimization in adolescents’ peer relationships as a unique predictor of depressive symptoms among a primarily (85%) Caucasian sample of 540 youth (294 females) concurrently and across a 6-year period. The moderating effects of emotional support received from mothers, fathers, and peers on the association between relational victimization and adolescents’ depressive symptoms were also investigated. Findings revealed that adolescents who were relationally victimized consistently had higher depressive symptoms than their non-victimized peers. However, high levels of emotional support from fathers buffered this relationship over time. Emotional support from mothers and peers also moderated the longitudinal relationship between relational victimization and depressive symptoms, with high levels of support predicting increases in adolescents’ symptoms. Relational victimization presents a clear risk for depressive symptoms in adolescence, and emotional support may serve either a protective or vulnerability-enhancing role depending on the source of support.

Keywords

Emotional support Fathers Mothers Peers Depressive symptoms Relational victimization Adolescence 

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. London, England: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Baldry, A. C. (2004). Mental and physical health of Italian youngsters directly and indirectly victimized at school and home. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 3, 77–91.Google Scholar
  3. Barber, B. K. (1996). Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. Child Development, 67, 3296–3319.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barber, B. K., & Harmon, E. L. (2002). Violating the self: Parent psychological control of children and adolescents. In B. K. Barber (Ed.), Intrusive parenting: How psychological control affects children and adolescents (pp. 15–52). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barrera, M., & Garrison-Jones, C. (1992). Family and peer social support as specific correlates of adolescent depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 20, 1–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bond, L., Carlin, J. B., Thomas, L., Rubin, K., & Patton, G. (2001). Does bullying cause emotional problems? A prospective study of young teenagers. British Medical Journal, 323, 480–484.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyce, W. F. (2006). Young people in Canada: Their health and well-being. Health Canada Report.Google Scholar
  9. Calmes, C. A., & Roberts, J. E. (2008). Rumination in interpersonal relationships: Does co-rumination explain gender differences in emotional distress and relationship satisfaction among college students? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32, 577–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carbonell, D. M., Reinherz, H. Z., & Giaconia, R. M. (1998). Risk and resilience in late adolescence. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 15(4), 251–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310–357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Colarossi, L. G., & Eccles, J. S. (2003). Differential effects of support providers on adolescents’ mental health. Social Work Research, 27, 19–30.Google Scholar
  13. Collins, W., & Laursen, B. (2004). Parent-adolescent relationships and influences. In W. Collins & B. Laursen (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Cowie, H. (2000). Bystanding or standing by: Gender issues in coping with bullying in English schools. Aggressive Behavior, 26, 85–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Craig, W. M. (1998). The relationship among bullying, victimization, depression, anxiety, and aggression in elementary school children. Personality and Individual Differences, 24(1), 123–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Crick, N. R. (1995). Relational aggression: The role of intent attributions, feelings of distress, and provocation type. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 313–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crick, N. R., & Bigbee, M. A. (1998). Relational and overt forms of peer victimization: A multiinformant approach. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(2), 337–347.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Crick, N. R., Casas, J. F., & Ku, H. C. (1999). Relational and physical forms of peer victimization in preschool. Developmental Psychology, 35(2), 376–385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crick, N. R., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1995). Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66, 710–722.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Crick, N. R., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1996). Children’s treatment by peers: Victims of relational and overt aggression. Development & Psychopathology, 8(2), 367–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Crick, N. R., Nelson, D. A., Morales, J. R., Cullerton-Sen, C., Casas, J. F., & Hickman, S. (2001). Relational victimization in childhood and adolescence: I hurt you through the grapevine. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), School-based peer harassment: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 196–214). New York: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  22. Cumsille, P. E., & Epstein, N. (1994). Family cohesion, family adaptability, social support, and adolescent depressive symptoms in outpatient clinic families. Journal of Family Psychology, 8, 202–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cunningham, C. E., Harrison, R., Knight, R., McHolm, A., Pollard, L., & Ricketts, P. (2007). The Brief Child and Family Phone Interview (BCFPI) in Hamilton: Intake Screening, triaging, outcome measurement, and program management. Psychology Ontario, 8–10.Google Scholar
  24. Day, R. D., & Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2009). Mother and father connectedness and involvement during early adolescence. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(6), 900–904.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Furman, W., & Buhrmester, D. (1992). Age and sex differences in perceptions of networks of personal relationships. Child Development, 63, 103–115.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Galambos, N. L., Leadbeater, B. J., & Barker, E. T. (2004). Gender differences in and risk factors for depression in adolescence: A 4-year longitudinal study. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 16–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grossmann, K., Grossmann, K. E., Fremmer-Bombik, E., Kindler, H., Scheuerer-Englisch, H., & Zimmermann, P. (2005). The uniqueness of the child-father attachment relationship: Fathers’ sensitive and challenging play as a pivotal variable in a 16-year longitudinal study. Social Development, 11(3), 307–331.Google Scholar
  28. Hawker, D. S., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(4), 441–455.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Helsen, M., Vollebergh, W., & Meeus, W. (2000). Social support from parents and friends and emotional problems in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29(3), 319–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hodges, E. V. E., Boivin, M., Vitaro, F., & Bukowski, W. M. (1999). The power of friendship: Protection against an escalating cycle of peer victimization. Developmental Psychology, 35, 98–101.Google Scholar
  31. House, J. S., Kahn, R. L., McLeod, J. D., & Williams, D. (1985). Measures and concepts of social support. In S. Cohen & S. L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  32. Klerman, G. L., Weissman, M. N., Rounsaville, B. J., & Chevron, E. S. (1984). Interpersonal psychotherapy of depression. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  33. 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
  34. Leadbeater, B. J., Boone, E. M., Sangster, N. A., & Mathieson, L. C. (2006). Sex differences in the personal costs and benefits of relational and physical aggression in high school. Aggressive Behavior, 32, 409–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leadbeater, B. J., Kuperminc, G. P., Blatt, S. J., & Hertzog, C. (1999). A multivariate model of gender differences in adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing problems. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1268–1282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Leadbeater, B. J., & Way, N. (2001). Growing up fast: Transitions to early adulthood of inner-city adolescent mothers. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah.Google Scholar
  37. Meece, D., & Laird, R. D. (2006). The importance of peers. In F. A. Villarruel & T. Luster (Eds.), The crisis in youth mental health: Critical issues and effective programs (vol 2): Disorders in adolescence. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar
  38. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(16), 2094–2100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Newcomb, M. D. (1990). Social support and personal characteristics: A developmental and interactional perspective. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 54–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. NICHD Early Child Care Network (2004). Trajectories of physical aggression from toddlerhood to middle childhood: Predictors, correlates, and outcomes. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, serial no. 279, p. 69.Google Scholar
  41. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2006). Gender differences in depression. In I. H. Gotleib & C. L. Hammen (Eds.), Handbook of depression (pp. 492–509). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  42. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school. Cambridge, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  43. Peterson, G. W. (2005). Family influences on adolescent development. In T. P. Gullotta & G. R. Adams (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent behavioral problems. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  44. Phares, V., Fields, S., Kamboukos, D., & Lopez, E. (2005). Still looking for poppa. American Psychologist, 60, 735–736.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Prinstein, M. J., Boergers, J., & Vernberg, E. M. (2001). Overt and relational aggression in adolescents: Social-psychological adjustment of aggressors and victims. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30(4), 479–491.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Procidano, M. E., & Heller, K. (1983). Measures of perceived social support from friends and family: Three validation studies. American Journal of Community Psychology, 11, 1–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rose, A. J. (2002). Co-rumination in the friendships of girls and boys. Child Development, 73(6), 1830–1843.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rudolph, K. D., & Hammen, C. (1999). Age and gender as determinants of stress exposure, generation, and reactions in youngsters: A transactional perspective. Child Development, 70(3), 660–677.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 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
  50. Schaefer, E. (1965). Children’s reports of parental behavior: An inventory. Child Development, 36, 413–424. PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schraedley, P. K., Gotlib, I. H., & Hayward, C. (1999). Gender differences in correlates of depressive symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 25, 98–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Seals, D., & Young, J. (2003). Bullying and victimization: Prevalence and relationship to gender, grade level, ethnicity, self-esteem, and depression. Adolescence, 38(152), 735–747.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 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(3), 407–421.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Smetana, J. G., Metzger, A., Gettman, D. C., & Campione-Barr, N. (2006). Disclosure and secrecy in adolescent-parent relationships. Child Development, 77, 201–217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stalets, M. M., & Luby, J. L. (2006). Preschool depression. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 15(4), 899–917.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sterba, S. K., Prinstein, M. J., & Cox, M. J. (2007). Trajectories of internalizing problems across childhood: Heterogeneity, external validity, and gender differences. Development and Psychopathology, 19(2), 345–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stice, E., Ragan, J., & Randall, P. (2004). Prospective relations between social support and depression: Differential directions of effects for parent and peer support? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 155–159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Storch, E. A., Phil, M., Nock, M. K., Masia-Warner, C., & Barlas, M. E. (2003). Peer victimization and social-psychological adjustment in Hispanic and African-American children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 12(4), 439–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tomarken, A. J., & Waller, N. G. (2005). Structural equation modeling: Strengths, limitations, and misconceptions. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 31–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Videon, T. M. (2005). Parent-child relations and children’s psychological well-being: Do dads matter? Journal of Family Issues, 26, 55–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vuijk, P., van Lier, P. A. C., Crijnen, A. A. M., & Huizink, A. C. (2007). Testing sex-specific pathways from peer victimization to anxiety and depression in early adolescents through a randomized intervention trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 100, 221–226.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Waller, E. M., & Rose, A. J. (2010). Adjustment trade-offs of co-rumination in mother-adolescent relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 33(3), 487–497. PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Way, N., & Leadbeater, B. J. (1999). Pathways toward educational achievement among African-American and Puerto-Rican adolescent mothers: Reexamining the role of social support from families. Developmental Psychopathology, 11, 349–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Weissman, M. M., et al. (1999). Children with prepubertal-onset major depressive disorder and anxiety grown up. Archives of General Psychiatry, 56(9), 794–801.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Williams, S. K., & Kelly, F. D. (2005). Relationships among involvement, attachment, and behavioral problems in adolescence: Examining fathers’ influence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 25, 168–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yeung, R. S., & Leadbeater, B. J. (2010). Adults make a difference: The protective effects of parent and teacher emotional support on emotional and behavioral problems among peer victimized adolescents. Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 80–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Young, J. F., Berenson, K., Cohen, P., & Garcia, J. (2005). The role of parent and peer support in predicting adolescent depression: A longitudinal community study. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15(4), 407–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Personalised recommendations