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NCJ Number: 199888 Find in a Library
Title: Dynamic Properties of Social Support: Decay, Growth, and Staticity, and Their Effects on Adolescent Depression
Journal: Social Forces  Volume:81  Issue:3  Dated:March 2003  Pages:953-978
Author(s): Benjamin Cornwell
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 26
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses how changes in perceived social support over time influence depression in an adolescent population.
Abstract: The study differentiates among the effects of social support growth, decay, and staticity on well being. Support growth suggests that a person is forging close friendships or that existing social influences are becoming more supportive over time. Support decay could mean that a person is feeling increasingly detached from friends, or is feeling neglected by the family. Social support staticity is when a person might be content with his or her social situation or is reluctant or unable to change it, or that an individual lacks the opportunity or ability to change the situation. The main hypothesis is that support decay is a more powerful force than support growth. The Add Health study was used because it was multidimensional, contained several components, and focused on many health-related behaviors of adolescents. Results show that the effects of support change are more important than even the cumulative effects of experiencing relatively high or relatively low amounts of support. In addition to the importance of adolescents receiving social support at any given time, it is important that they perceive stable or increasing amounts of support over time. Adolescents that experience decay of parental or friendship support experience higher levels of depression on average than those that experience static or increasing amounts of support over time. The effect of social support decay is greater in magnitude than the effects of support staticity or growth. It is easier to make an adolescent more depressed by denying him or her the amount of support (s)he is used to than it is to alleviate an adolescent’s depression by intervening with more support. A decrease in parental support over time appears to be an especially affective, traumatic experience for adolescents. It is more useful to embrace proactive, rather than reactive, approaches to mental health. 6 tables, 11 notes, 45 references
Main Term(s): Family support; Juvenile mental health services
Index Term(s): Home environment; Juvenile health services; Juvenile psychological evaluation; Mental disorders; Mental health; Mental health services
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