Friendship Networks and Depression in Adolescence

Jonah Rodgers, VP&S Class of 2025

Name: Jonah Rodgers
School: Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Class of 2025
Mentor: Diego Palacios, PhD

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Depression in adolescents has been linked to poor life outcomes, including suicidal ideation, peer victimization, and peer rejection among others. Less is known about how depressed adolescents relate and perceive social interactions with their peers in the context of their own social status as determined by their peers. The current study investigated the association between depression and antipathy/amity towards peers in the context of their rejection status (as determined by peer liking/disliking status towards the depressed peers). An Italian dataset obtained from (source of dataset) surveyed 457 Italian first year secondary school students (M age = 11.9, SD = 0.7, 54% male) in 23 classrooms across nine schools (Marucci, Oldenburg, & Barrera, 2018) about depressive symptoms and peer relationships. The adolescents were asked to nominate classmates they liked and disliked. The results were analyzed using longitudinal social network analyses (stochastic actor-oriented models) while controlling for structural network effects (reciprocity, transitivity, indegree-popularity), gender, nationality and highest parents’ education level which yielded that non-rejected depressed peers sent less friendship nominations than they received. These findings may suggest that non-rejected depressed peers may misperceive unilaterally positive social interactions or that non-rejected depressed peers express an antipathetic attitude towards friends and non-friends alike.