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Interpersonal Functioning And Depressive Symptoms In Childhood: Addressing The Issues Of Specificity And Comorbidity

K. Rudolph, C. Hammen, D. Burge
Published 1994 · Psychology, Medicine

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Research has supported linkages between depression and social impairment in youngsters, but has often focused on depressive symptoms in isolation. We collected data on depressive, anxiety, and externalizing symptoms in 161 school children. Information about interpersonal competence was gathered from several sources, including children, teachers, and behavioral observations. Depressive symptoms were found to be related to difficulties in multiple areas of competence, including maladaptive social problem-solving styles, conflict-negotiation and affect-regulation deficits, and peer rejection. Comparisons of the relative contributions made by depressive and anxiety symptoms to the prediction of functioning yielded some evidence for a specific relation between depressive symptoms and impairment. Children with cooccurring internalizing and externalizing symptoms generally suffered from the most social dysfunction. If replicated in clinical samples, findings such as these may help to guide intervention efforts with depressed children.
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