Maternal and Peer Regulation of Adolescent Emotion: Associations with Depressive Symptoms

Abstract

Emotion socialization by close relationship partners plays a role in adolescent depression. In the current study, a microsocial approach was used to examine how adolescents’ emotions are socialized by their mothers and close friends in real time, and how these interpersonal emotion dynamics are related to adolescent depressive symptoms. Participants were 83 adolescents aged 16 to 17 years who participated in conflict discussions with their mothers and self-nominated close friends. Adolescents’ positive and negative emotions, and mothers’ and peers’ supportive regulation of adolescent emotions, were coded in real time. Two multilevel survival analyses in a 2-level Cox hazard regression framework predicted the hazard rate of (1) mothers’ supportive regulation of adolescents’ emotions, and (2) peers’ supportive regulation of adolescents’ emotions. The likelihood of maternal supportiveness, regardless of adolescent emotions, was lower for adolescents with higher depressive symptoms. In addition, peers were less likely to up-regulate adolescent positive emotions at higher levels of adolescent depressive symptoms. The results of the current study support interpersonal models of depression and demonstrate the importance of real-time interpersonal emotion processes in adolescent depressive symptoms.

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Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Grant 430-2011-0264 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

This study was conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Institutional Research Ethics Boards, and informed consent/ assent was obtained from all participants included in the study.

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Correspondence to Jessica P. Lougheed.

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Lougheed, J.P., Craig, W.M., Pepler, D. et al. Maternal and Peer Regulation of Adolescent Emotion: Associations with Depressive Symptoms. J Abnorm Child Psychol 44, 963–974 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-015-0084-x

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Keywords

  • Dyadic interactions
  • Depression
  • Adolescence
  • Multilevel survival analysis
  • Emotion regulation