Social Skills, Support Play Role in Adolescent Depression

Article excerpt


Alow level of social skills in early adolescence predicts depression in both girls and boys during later adolescence, and a lack of friend support in middle adolescence mediates this relationship for girls but not for boys, according to findings from a longitudinal population-based study.

The findings underscore a need for social skills training, in programs aimed at preventing the development of depression in both sexes, and for training for girls on how to cope with interpersonal difficulties, Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D., of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, and her colleagues reported.

The investigators studied 566 adolescents involved in TOPP (Norwegian Tracking Opportunities and Problems Project) who completed a questionnaire at age 12.5 years. Of these, 456 also completed a questionnaire at age 14.5 years and 375 also completed a questionnaire at age 16.5 years.

At ages 12.5 and 16.5 years, girls reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than boys, and at age 12.5 they reported significantly more social skills than boys. For both boys and girls, social skills at age 12.5 years correlated positively with social support at age 14.5 and correlated negatively with depressive symptoms at age 16.5. Social support at age 14.5 correlated negatively with depressive symptoms at age 16.5, but only for girls, the investigators said (J. Adolesc. 2013;36:11-20).

A significant increase in depressive symptoms from age 12.5 years to age 16.5 was noted for the total sample, but gender-based analysis demonstrated that the increase was significant only in girls. …


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