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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

Differential effects of support providers on adolescents' mental health

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Colarossi, L.G., and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. 2003. "Differential effects of support providers on adolescents' mental health." Social Work Research, 27(1), 19-30.

This prospective study examined the differential effects of parent, teacher, and peer social support on depression and self-esteem of 217 adolescents, ages 15 to 18. Results indicate that female adolescents perceived significantly more support from friends than male adolescents did, whereas male adolescents perceived significantly more support from fathers than female adolescents did. No gender differences were found in perceptions of support from mothers or teachers. Boys and girls perceived the least amount of support from fathers compared with other providers. Multisample structural equation models were invariant across female and male groups for the effects of support providers on each outcome. The joint effects of the support providers explained a significant amount of variance in time 2 depression and self-esteem, after controlling for both at time 1, suggesting that social support has important effects on symptoms. The separate effects of mothers, teachers, and friends had similarly sized, significant negative effects on time 2 depression. Self-esteem was significantly, positively affected by friend and teacher support.

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