This study examined the proposal that difficulty understanding one’s emotional experiences (i.e., deficits in emotional clarity) would interfere with the formulation of adaptive responses to interpersonal stress, which would then predict depressive symptoms. This process was examined across 3 years (fourth to sixth grade) during early adolescence. Participants included 636 youth (338 girls, 298 boys; X¯ age in fourth grade = 9.95, SD =.37) who completed measures assessing emotional clarity, stress responses, and depressive symptoms. Consistent with the hypothesized model, path analyses revealed that maladaptive interpersonal stress responses partially mediated the prospective contribution of deficits in emotional clarity to depressive symptoms. These findings implicate impairment in emotional understanding as a precursor to emerging interpersonal and psychological difficulties during a developmental stage of heightened vulnerability to depression, the transition to adolescence.
- Emotional development
- Peer relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies