Exploring the relation between social anxiety and depression in youth: the roles of friendship and peer acceptance
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This study examined whether problems establishing and maintaining positive, supportive relationships with peers may mediate the relation between social anxiety and depression in youth. In particular, structural equation modeling was used to evaluate models containing friendship quality and peer acceptance as mediators. Results, based on a school sample of 539 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th graders, indicated that peer acceptance partially mediated the relation between social anxiety and depression. However, friendship quality did not mediate the relation between social anxiety and depression, because social anxiety was unrelated to friendship quality. Few sex and age differences in the relations among study variables were found. However, social anxiety was a significantly stronger predictor of lower peer acceptance for girls than for boys. Results also indicated that having a high quality friendship may buffer youth who are not well-accepted by peers from experiencing symptoms of depression, in that lower acceptance by peers significantly predicted increased depression for youth who reported low friendship quality; however, level of acceptance was unrelated to depression for youth who reported high friendship quality.
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