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A Social–Interactional Model of the Development of Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence

  • Joseph P. Allen
  • Glenda Insabella
  • Maryfrances R. Porter
  • Felicia D. Smith
  • Debbie Land
  • Nicole Phillips
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2006


This study used longitudinal, multimethod data to examine specific patterns of behavioral interaction with parents and peers that were hypothesized to predict increasing levels of depressive symptoms in early adolescence. Adolescents' struggles in establishing autonomy and relatedness in interactions with mothers, and a withdrawn, angry, or dependent pattern of behavior with a best friend, were assessed with observational and peer-report methods in a community sample of 143 adolescents, who were also assessed for levels of depressive symptoms at age 13 and with whom the authors followed up 1 year later. Study hypotheses were confirmed, with dysfunctional interaction patterns with parents and peers combining additively to account for substantial change variance in depressive symptoms over time. Results are interpreted as highlighting specific behavioral patterns that may be promising to address via psychosocial interventions targeting adolescent depression.

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