Internalizing problems (i.e., depressive and anxiety symptoms) are known to decrease adolescents' well-being, but knowledge about potential underlying mechanisms is limited. The qualities of adolescents' most proximal relationships with their parents and close friends are expected to play a role in the association between adolescents' internalizing problems and well-being.
The present study was conducted to 1) investigate the indirect longitudinal association between internalizing problems and adolescents' well-being via the quality of adolescents' relationships with both their mothers and fathers and their close friends, and 2) test whether our findings were gender invariant.
Data were collected via online questionnaires in two waves at a 12-month interval from adolescents attending three secondary schools in the Netherlands (N = 1298; M age = 13.7 years, 53.2% girls). The data were analyzed using a two-wave cross-lagged panel model in R. Multigroup analyses were performed to examine the gender invariance of the findings.
After controlling for baseline levels, results showed that (1) girls, but not boys, who reported more internalizing problems at T1 had lower well-being at T2; (2) girls and boys who reported more internalizing problems at T1 had lower-quality relationships with their mothers, fathers, and close friends at T2; and (3) boys, but not girls, who reported higher-quality friendships at T1 had higher well-being at T2. However, no significant indirect effects between internalizing problems and well-being via the quality of adolescents' relationships with their parents and close friends were detected.
The current study contributes to understanding internalizing problems as an important risk factor to the quality of adolescents' proximal social relationships (parents, friends) and their well-being. The findings support the importance of building high-quality relationships, particularly friendships, and recommend future research to study adolescents' internalizing problems and well-being including gender-specific examinations.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Social Science & Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
- Internalizing problems
- The Netherlands
- COVARIANCE STRUCTURE-ANALYSIS
- ANXIETY DISORDER SYMPTOMS
- DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
- LIFE SATISFACTION
- SOCIAL SUPPORT