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Coping With Depressive Symptoms in Young Adults: Perceived Social Support Protects Against Depressive Symptoms Only Under Moderate Levels of Stress

Coping With Depressive Symptoms in Young Adults: Perceived Social Support Protects Against Depressive Symptoms Only Under Moderate Levels of Stress

Frontiers in Psychology 9: 2780

Introduction: The interrelationship between social support, depressive symptoms, stress and self-esteem in young adults remains unclear. This study aims to test the mediating role of self-esteem in the relationship between social support and depressive symptoms and the moderating role of perceived stress in the relationship between the two. This is important to inform components of future intervention development targeting youth depression. Methods: Three hundred forty-four (N = 344) young adults in Cyprus aged 17-26 (78% female) completed measures of self-esteem, social support, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress. Structural equation models were used to examine the interactions between social support and depressive psychopathology, whereas mediational analyses were run to examine the mediating role of self-esteem. Latent moderated mediation models were applied to examine the potentially moderating role of perceived stress. Results: Perceived social support from family and friends were significantly related to lower depressive symptoms. Self-esteem fully mediated the relationship between perceived family support and depressive symptoms. Perceived stress moderated the model, and perceived social support was found to be more protective against depressive symptoms when moderate levels of stress were presented. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that social support is protective against depressive symptoms. Self-esteem and perceived stress are important mechanisms that interact with this effect. Implications include the efforts to increase perceived family support during college years and management of stress levels before working with depressive symptoms.

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Accession: 066133026

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PMID: 30692958

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02780

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