Adolescence is a stage of life marked by striking transformations in youths’ social worlds. As youth progress through adolescence, they must negotiate the shift from a primary reliance on the family as a context for socialization and support to a more delicate balance between autonomy versus connectedness within the family (Allen, Hauser, Bell, and O’Connor, 1994). Moreover, youth must traverse the increasingly intricate and emotionally demanding landscape of peer and romantic relationships (Furman and Wehner, 1997; Laursen, 1996). Successfully meeting their basic need for relatedness during this pivotal period thus requires that youth possess strong personal and interpersonal resources. These complex social tasks of adolescence provide a developmental context of risk for the emergence of depression, particularly in youth with pre-existing personal characteristics or environmental experiences that compromise their ability to navigate the interpersonal challenges of adolescence. This chapter explores the interpersonal context of adolescent depression, with a focus on characteristics of youth and their environments that amplify or attenuate risk in the face of the social reorganization characterizing the transition through adolescence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas