The present study examined the role of the friendship network in the levels of and change in symptoms of internalizing psychopathology among high school students. Social Network Analysis was implemented to examine self-reported anxiety and depression in the friendship network during the fall and spring in one school year for students in a rural high school (M age at T1 = 15.71, 51% female, 91% Caucasian). Depression and anxiety in the friendship network predicted changes in the individual's level of internalizing symptoms. Grade level moderated the influence of the friendship network, such that influence was greatest in 10th grade and decreased in the 11th and 12th grades. Notably, defining network internalizing scores as either mean level versus clinical cut-off scores affected the pattern of findings. Taken together, these results highlight the important and complex role the friendship network plays across adolescence. Recommendations for clinical practice and policy are discussed.
- Peer Network
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology