The blues of adolescent romance: Observed affective interactions in adolescent romantic relationships associated with depressive symptoms

Phuong Ha, Thomas J. Dishion, Geertjan Overbeek, William J. Burk, Rutger C M E Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the associations between observed expressions of positive and negative emotions during conflict discussions and depressive symptoms during a 2-year period in a sample of 160 adolescents in 80 romantic relationships (M age∈=∈15.48, SD∈=∈1.16). Conflict discussions were coded using the 10-code Specific Affect Coding System. Depressive symptoms were assessed at the time of the observed conflict discussions (Time 1) and 2 years later (Time 2). Data were analyzed using actor-partner interdependence models. Girls' expression of both positive and negative emotions at T1 was related to their own depressive symptoms at T2 (actor effect). Boys' positive emotions and negative emotions (actor effect) and girls' negative emotions (partner effect) were related to boys' depressive symptoms at T2. Contrary to expectation, relationship break-up and relationship satisfaction were unrelated to changes in depressive symptoms or expression of negative or positive emotion during conflict discussion. These findings underscore the unique quality of adolescent romantic relationships and suggest new directions in the study of the link between mental health and romantic involvement in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-562
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Actor-partner interdependence model
  • Adolescent romantic relationships
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Negative and positive emotions
  • Observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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