Social anxiety and depressive symptoms dramatically increase and frequently co-occur during adolescence. Although research indicates that general interpersonal stressors, peer victimization, and familial emotional maltreatment predict symptoms of social anxiety and depression, it remains unclear how these stressors contribute to the sequential development of these internalizing symptoms. Thus, the present study examined the sequential development of social anxiety and depressive symptoms following the occurrence of interpersonal stressors, peer victimization, and familial emotional maltreatment. Participants included 410 early adolescents (53 % female; 51 % African American; Mean age =12.84 years) who completed measures of social anxiety and depressive symptoms at three time points (Times 1–3), as well as measures of general interpersonal stressors, peer victimization, and emotional maltreatment at Time 2. Path analyses revealed that interpersonal stressors, peer victimization, and emotional maltreatment predicted both depressive and social anxiety symptoms concurrently. However, depressive symptoms significantly mediated the pathway from interpersonal stressors, peer victimization, and familial emotional maltreatment to subsequent levels of social anxiety symptoms. In contrast, social anxiety did not mediate the relationship between these stressors and subsequent depressive symptoms. There was no evidence of sex or racial differences in these mediational pathways. Findings suggest that interpersonal stressors, including the particularly detrimental stressors of peer victimization and familial emotional maltreatment, may predict both depressive and social anxiety symptoms; however, adolescents who have more immediate depressogenic reactions may be at greater risk for later development of symptoms of social anxiety.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Emotional maltreatment
- Interpersonal stress
- Peer victimization
- Social anxiety