Date of this Version
Society and Mental Health (online June 6, 2012) ; doi: 10.1177/2156869312445211
Adolescence is a time when depressive symptoms and friendships both intensify. The authors ask whether friendships change in response to depressive symptoms, whether individual distress is influenced by friends’ distress, and whether these processes vary by gender. To answer these questions, the authors use longitudinal Simulation Investigation for Empirical Network Analysis models to study how changes in friendships and depressive symptoms intertwine with each other among all adolescents as well as boy-only and girl-only networks in seven smaller K-12 Add Health schools. The findings indicate that distressed youth are more likely to be socially excluded, though depressive symptoms are also a basis for friendship formation. Moreover, friends influence one another’s mood levels. These processes differ for boys and girls, however, such that distressed girls are more likely to face exclusion and distressed boys are more likely to befriend and subsequently influence one another.