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Youth's social problems contribute to anxiety and depression
Date:3/24/2008

asing internalizing symptoms over time.

Children who were less socially competent in childhood were more likely to have symptoms of anxious or depressed mood in adolescence. Similarly, young people who were less socially competent in adolescence were at greater risk for symptoms of anxiety and depression in young adulthood. The findings remained the same when the researchers took into account some other possible explanations, such as intellectual functioning, the quality of parenting, social class, and such problems as fighting, lying, and stealing. And the results were generally the same for both males and females.

Overall, our research suggests that social competence, such as acceptance by peers and developing healthy relationships, is a key influence in the development of future internalizing problems such as anxiety and depressed mood, especially over the transition years from adolescence into young adulthood, explains Keith Burt, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Vermont and the studys lead author. These results suggest that although internalizing problems have some stability across time, there is also room for intervention and change. More specifically, youth at risk for internalizing problems might benefit from interventions focused on building healthy relationships with peers.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.


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Contact: Andrea Browning
abrowning@srcd.org
202-289-7905
Society for Research in Child Development
Source:Eurekalert

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