Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Role of Pubertal Timing and Social Network Characteristics in Predicting Adjustment in Adolescence and Early Adulthood
by Saczawa, Mary Eileen, Ph.D., University of Florida, 2016, 279; 10646440
Abstract (Summary)

Pubertal development is a normal developmental process through which all individuals must pass. However, whereas most proceed through adolescence without significant psychological disruption, a small portion develop emotional or behavioral problems. Research on the timing of puberty relative to one’s peers has indicated gender- and timing-specific associations with psychopathology. Additionally, characteristics of peer relationships, such as the number of friendships an adolescent has and the degree of involvement in those friendships, have been associated with emotional and behavioral adjustment outcomes. Using data from the first four waves of the National Study of Adolescent and Adult Health saturated sample, associations with depressive symptoms and deviant behaviors in adolescence and early adulthood were tested. Cross-lagged panel analysis and latent growth curve modeling were used to test short-term and long-term associations, respectively.

Short-term findings suggest that popularity and peer involvement exhibit crosslagged effects with both depressive symptoms and deviant behaviors during adolescence; popularity was associated with lower depressive symptoms and higher deviant behaviors, while involvement was associated with higher levels of both emotional and behavioral problems. Early pubertal timing predicted higher deviant behaviors in girls and boys and higher depressive symptoms in girls, whereas latedeveloping boys exhibited higher depressive symptoms. Subjective timing also moderated associations between peer characteristics and adjustment in adolescence.

Long-term analyses indicated significant linear and quadratic growth in depressive symptoms and deviant behaviors from adolescence to early adulthood. Addition of peer and pubertal timing predictors to the model explained significant amounts of variability in these trajectories. Popularity and involvement with friends during adolescence significantly predicted adjustment trajectories from adolescence through early adulthood. Pubertal timing exhibited a main effect on trajectories for boys and for girls, but timing only moderated associations with peer characteristics for girls. Separate models indicated different associations with subjective pubertal timing and with age of menarche for girls. The findings from this study indicate that pubertal timing, popularity, and involvement with friends during adolescence have significant associations with depressive symptoms and deviant behaviors in adolescence and early adulthood.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Graber, Julia, Devine, Darragh
Commitee:
School: University of Florida
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social psychology, Developmental psychology
Keywords: Adolescence, Depression, Deviancy, Puberty, Social networks
Publication Number: 10646440
ISBN: 978-0-355-19692-4
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