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Title:Interactive contribution of peer stress and executive function deficits in predicting adolescent depression
Author(s):Agoston, Anna M.
Director of Research:Rudolph, Karen D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rudolph, Karen D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Heller, Wendy; Berenbaum, Howard; Verona, Edelyn; Rodkin, Philip C.; Roberts, Brent W.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):peer relations
executive functioning
Abstract:Considering that cumulative exposure to stressful peer events may lead to increases in psychopathology, particularly depression, it is important to examine individual-level factors that may increase the likelihood of experiencing future negative outcomes. This research investigated the interactive contribution of peer stress and executive function (EF) deficits in predicting depressive symptoms across middle childhood (2nd grade) to early adolescence (6th grade). Sex differences were also examined in these relations. Youth (M age = 7.95, SD = .37; 267 girls, 227 boys) completed questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to assess peer stress and depression, respectively, and teachers completed the Behavior Rating Scale of Executive Function (BRIEF), a measure assessing everyday, typical performance in areas of EF. Interactions were examined for peer stress and specific EF deficits (i.e., working memory, planning/organization, inhibition, and shifting) in predicting depression. In the total sample, there were main effects of peer stress, planning/organization, and shifting, as well as sex and previous levels of depression. Notably, stressful peer events interacted with inhibition and shifting deficits to predict depression over time in girls only, such that higher levels of stress predicted more depressive symptoms in girls but not boys with high inhibition and shifting deficits. This study extends research on areas of vulnerability that moderate stressful experiences to lead to depression over time, in turn elucidating potential targets for interventions preventing negative psychological outcomes in youth.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Anna Agoston
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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