This research examined two pathways through which depressive symptoms contribute to low social status (i.e.; neglect and rejection) within the peer group over time: (a) depressive symptoms promote socially helpless behavior and consequent neglect by peers; and (b) depressive symptoms promote aggressive behavior and consequent rejection by peers. These pathways were investigated in independent samples of youth at two developmental stages: middle childhood (2nd-4th grade) and early adolescence (5th-7th grade). In both Study 1 (M age = 7.97, SD = 0.37; 338 girls, 298 boys) and Study 2 (M age = 11.74, SD = 0.68; 305 girls, 300 boys), youth and their teachers completed questionnaires at three waves. Multi-group comparison path analyses were conducted to examine sex differences in the models. Consistent with expectations, two pathways emerged through which depressive symptoms undermined subsequent social status. Support was not found for the reverse direction of effect nor for developmental or sex differences in the pathways with one exception: In early adolescence, neglect directly predicted depressive symptoms. These findings suggest specificity but also heterogeneity in the effects of depressive symptoms on social status, and identify behaviors that may be targeted for preventing the persistence of depression and its interpersonal consequences.
- Peer relations
- Social status
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health