This study examines the effectiveness of social support networks on psychological well-being among 602 homeless and runaway adolescents. The respondents were interviewed in shelters, drop-in centers, and on the streets in cities of four Midwestern states (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas). The path model was used to test the direct effect of family abuse and precocious independence on adolescent depressive symptoms and indirect effects through social support networks. Results indicate that although abusive family origins contribute directly to depressive symptoms there are indirect effects of family abuse and early independence through social support networks. Family abuse and early independence drive homeless adolescents to rely on peers for social support. While support from friends on the street reduces depression, association with deviant peers increases depression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health