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Family Dynamics and its Impact on Natural Mentoring Relationships and Depressive Symptoms among African American Adolescents

Presenters Name: 
Gloria Stout
Primary Research Mentor: 
Noelle Hurd
Secondary Research Mentor: 
Andrea Negrete
1:15 - 1:30
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 1:15pm to 1:30pm
Room 481
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

This study investigated the impact of family dynamics (family harmony and family conflict) on adolescent reported depressive symptoms via natural mentoring relationships (i.e., nonparental caring adults selected by adolescents from their pre-existing social networks). Participants in the current study included 215 self- identified Black adolescents whose ages ranged from 12 to 15 years old. Seventy percent of the Black adolescents reported having a natural mentor. Sixty percent identified as female or other and 57.9% reported receiving free or reduced-priced lunch. All adolescents were recruited through local middle school and high schools from a small Southeastern town. Participants completed a one-time survey. Using the MEDIATE SPSS macro, I tested both direct and indirect effects of family harmony, family conflict and an interaction term between the two on depressive symptoms via the number of natural mentorships (including age, gender, and free or reduced price lunch status). A direct relationship between the individual variables of family harmony and family conflict on reported depressive symptoms was detected. A direct relationship between family dynamics and number of natural mentor presence or between the number of natural mentor presence and depressive symptoms were not detected. The hypothesized indirect effect of family dynamics via natural mentoring relationships on depressive symptoms were also not supported. There are many potential reasons as to why our results were insignificant such as the measures used in the study. Our findings emphasize that more research may be needed to reconcile these differences.