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Developmental trajectories and longitudinal mediation effects of self-esteem, peer attachment, child maltreatment and depression on early adolescents

Developmental trajectories and longitudinal mediation effects of self-esteem, peer attachment, child maltreatment and depression on early adolescents

Child Abuse and Neglect 76: 353-363

The purpose of this study is to identify the developmental trajectories of peer attachment, self-esteem, depression, and child maltreatment, and to understand the longitudinal mediation effects that peer attachment and self-esteem have on the influence of perceived abuse on early adolescent depression. This study uses Year 1 to Year 5 data of the 4th grader panel of the Korea Youth Panel Survey (KYPS) and utilizes a multivariate latent growth model to analyze the main variables in the applicable data between 5th (i.e., Year 2) and 8th (i.e., Year 5) grades. The results indicate that from the 5th to the 8th grade, the degree of abuse and depression increases while self-esteem gradually decreases with slowly lowering peer attachment. A significant distribution of the initial values and the rate of change were present for all main variables of the study, confirming individual differences in time wise changes. Further, more exposure to abuse correlated with a decrease in self-esteem, while an increase in self-esteem greatly reduced depression. The initial value of self-esteem showed a partial mediation effect, whereas the rate of change indicated a full mediation effect with a significant longitudinal mediation effect. More experience of abuse during early adolescence indicated a lower degree of peer attachment, and a higher peer attachment was related to decreased depression. A significant partial mediation effect was present for both the initial value and the rate of change of peer attachment, and a longitudinal mediation effect was present. This study confirmed that self-esteem in early adolescents is an important protective factor that can greatly reduce the degree of depression, and suggests continuous interventions conducted to increase self-esteem in adolescence. Furthermore, by determining that peer attachment decreases the degree of depression in children at risk, the study emphasizes the healing aspect of adolescent peer attachment.

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Accession: 057904407

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PMID: 29195173

DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.11.015

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