A Prospective Examination of Emotional Clarity, Stress Responses, and Depressive Symptoms During Early Adolescence

Megan Flynn, Karen D. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-939
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
Volume34
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 13 2014

Keywords

  • Coping
  • Depression
  • 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

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