02 Aug Help Prevent Teen Depression
Teens and Importance of Friendships
The importance of friendships and family support in helping prevent depression among teenagers drove research at the University of Cambridge. This study published in the open access journal PLOS ONE. It found that teenagers who had grown up in a difficult family environment were more likely than their peers to be bullied at school.
Teenage years can be difficult for everyone, but we found that this is particularly the case for those teens who have had a difficult family environment. – Anne-Laura van Harmelen
A Key Time Period
Adolescence presents as a key time in an individual’s development. It is a period where some teenagers begin to show signs of major depression. One of the major risk factors for depression in adolescence points to childhood family adversity. Examples include poor parenting and lack of affection, abuse, family financial problems or the loss of a family member. Another major risk factor for depression proves to be bullying by peers. In addition, the combined experience of childhood family adversity and peer bullying influences the increased severity of depression symptoms.
Studies suggest that friendships and supportive family environments may help protect adolescents from depression. Perhaps even when they have experienced peer bullying and childhood family adversity. However, no study has simultaneously examined the complex interplay of early life adversity, bullying, family support and friendships on later adolescent depression.
Researchers Examine the Data
Researchers at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge studied almost 800 teenagers (322 boys and 449 girls). They used mathematical modelling to examine the direct impact of friendships and family support. They focused on age 14 – 17 adolescents who had previously experienced childhood family adversity and primary school bullying.
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