Mental health disorders and adolescent peer relationships

Long, E. , Gardani, M. , McCann, M. , Sweeting, H. , Tranmer, M. and Moore, L. (2020) Mental health disorders and adolescent peer relationships. Social Science and Medicine, 253, 112973. (doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112973) (PMID:32283352) (PMCID:PMC7248572)

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Rationale: Mental health disorders often arise during adolescence, with disruptive behavior disorders and anxiety disorders among the most common. Given the salience of peer relationships during adolescence, and research suggesting that mental health disorders negatively impact social functioning, this study uses novel methodology from social network analysis to uncover the social processes linking disruptive behavior disorders and anxiety disorders with adolescent friendships. In particular, the study focuses on peer withdrawal, peer popularity, and peer homophily in relation to both disorders. Methods: Data come from 15-year old students in four Scottish secondary schools (N = 602). Diagnoses of disruptive behavior disorders and anxiety disorders were produced using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, and peer relationship data were obtained through a friendship nomination survey. Exponential random graph models were used to estimate the probability of peer withdrawal, peer popularity, and peer homophily based on each disorder. Results: Results demonstrated that adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders were more popular than their peers without disruptive behavior disorders (OR: 1.47, CI: 1.20, 1.87). Friendship was also more likely between two adolescents both with or both without disruptive behavior disorders (OR: 1.26, CI: 1.07, 1.47), demonstrating peer homophily. There was no evidence that anxiety disorders were related to adolescent peer relationships. Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that disruptive behavior disorders may be socially rewarded (e.g., peer popularity) and socially clustered (e.g., homophily), whereas anxiety disorders show no such trends. Thus, intervention efforts must account for the peer social status that may be gained from engaging in disruptive behavior during this developmental period. Further, given that similarity in DBD status is associated with an increased likelihood of friendship, adolescents are likely to be surrounded by peers who reinforce their behaviors.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Long, Dr Emily and Tranmer, Professor Mark and Moore, Professor Laurence and Gardani, Dr Maria and McCann, Dr Mark and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Creator Roles:
Long, E.Conceptualization, Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft
Gardani, M.Conceptualization, Writing – review and editing
McCann, M.Conceptualization, Methodology, Validation, Writing – review and editing
Sweeting, H.Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – review and editing
Tranmer, M.Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – review and editing
Moore, L.Conceptualization, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Long, E., Gardani, M., McCann, M., Sweeting, H., Tranmer, M., and Moore, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Social Science and Medicine
ISSN (Online):1873-5347
Published Online:08 April 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
First Published:First published in Social Science and Medicine 253:112973
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
302716MRC Skills Development Fellowship ProgrammeJill PellMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/S015078/1S&PS - Administration
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU12
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU11
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU14