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Adolescent Depression and Substance Use: the Protective Role of Prosocial Peer Behavior

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Adolescents with depression disorders have higher rates of substance use. In order to advance contextually relevant mental health interventions, basic research is needed to test social ecological mechanisms hypothesized to influence adolescent depression and substance use. Accordingly, we conducted growth curve modeling with a sample of 248 urban adolescents to determine if depression’s effect on substance use was dependent upon peer network health (sum of peer risk and protective behaviors) and activity space risk (likelihood of high-risk behaviors at routine locations). Results showed that peer network health moderated the effects of depression on substance use, but this effect was not altered by activity space risk. These findings suggest the importance of peer network health relative to depression and substance use, particularly for young adolescents.

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This research was supported by a Grant No. 1R01 DA031724-01A1, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the first author. The findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or National Institute of Health.

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Correspondence to Michael Mason.

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Mason, M., Mennis, J., Russell, M. et al. Adolescent Depression and Substance Use: the Protective Role of Prosocial Peer Behavior. J Abnorm Child Psychol 47, 1065–1074 (2019).

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