Evidence of Parallel Pathways

Gender Similarity in the Impact of Social Support on Adolescent Depression and Delinquency

Published in: Social Forces, vol. 85, no. 3, March 2007, p. 1143-1167

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2007

by Sarah O. Meadows

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Despite an apparent connection, depression and delinquency have rarely been examined simultaneously. Instead, research has examined each topic separately and emphasized gender differences — rather than similarities — in outcomes. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this paper examines possible parallel pathways between social support (from parents, peers and schools) and depression in females and delinquency in males. Results show that support from these sources operates in a similar direction for both boys and girls, regardless of outcome. However, some significant differences in the magnitude of these associations exist. The paper concludes with a discussion of the merits of framing research as an examination of similarity, rather than difference.

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