Depression Socialization in Early Adolescent Friendships: The Role of Baseline Depressive Symptoms and Autonomous Functioning

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Abstract

There is mixed evidence for depression socialization, a process by which friends affect each other’s level of depressive symptoms. The current study examined whether adolescents’ baseline depressive symptoms and three dimensions of autonomous functioning (autonomy, peer resistance, and friend adaptation) make adolescents more or less sensitive to depression socialization, and how these dimensions of autonomous functioning were connected. In this preregistered, two-wave longitudinal study, participants completed questionnaires on depressive symptoms, autonomy, and peer resistance and participated in a task to assess friend adaptation. Participants were 416 Dutch adolescents (Mage = 11.60, 52.8% girls) across 230 close friend dyads. In contrast to expectations, results showed no significant depression socialization nor significant moderation. Furthermore, autonomy and peer resistance were related but distinct constructs, and not related to friend adaptation. These findings suggest that there is no depression socialization in early adolescence, regardless of level of autonomous functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1432
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume52
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Autonomy
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Friendship
  • Individual differences
  • Peer influence

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