Changes in family cohesion and links to depression during thecollege transition

João F. Guassi Moreira, Eva H. Telzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parent relationships remain an important component in the lives of adolescents, with particular respect to their well-being. In the current study, we sought to understand how changes in family cohesion across the high school-college transition may be related to changes in depressive symptoms. Three hundred and thirty-eight college freshman completed self-report measures prior to attending college and again two months into their first semester. Although depressive symptoms significantly increased, adolescents who reported increases in family cohesion reported declines in depressive symptoms during the college transition. Furthermore, this effect was mediated by changes in self-esteem and optimism. Finally, we show unique associations for male and female adolescents, such that changes in family cohesion were only related to changes in depression for girls. Results suggest that parent relationships may buffer against increased depressive symptoms during this important transition period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • College transition
  • Depression
  • Family relationships
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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