Risk for Depressive Symptoms Among Adolescents with a History of Adversity: Unique Role of Stress Appraisals

Megan M. Davis, Divya M. Surabhi, Eva H. Telzer, Karen D. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lifetime social adversity predicts elevated depressive symptoms in adolescence. However, most adversity-exposed youth do not develop depression, highlighting the importance of examining risk and protective factors. The present study leveraged a multi-method approach, incorporating self-report, interview, and independent coding to examine whether appraisals of recent stressors moderate the effect of social adversity on depressive symptoms in 81 adolescent girls (Mage = 16.30 years, SD =.85). We utilized semi-structured interviews of lifetime adversity and recent stressors and semi-structured interviews and self-reports of depressive symptoms. Stress appraisals were calculated by regressing youths’ subjective estimations of event stressfulness and dependence on estimations of independent coders. Lifetime social adversity predicted elevated depressive symptoms more strongly in girls who appraised interpersonal events as more stressful and dependent on their actions, providing insight into individual differences in depressive symptoms in adversity-exposed adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Adversity
  • Depression
  • Stress appraisals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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