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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2008 Nov;36(8):1159-74. doi: 10.1007/s10802-008-9239-3. Epub 2008 May 9.

Coping with social stress: implications for psychopathology in young adolescent girls.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. lsontag@ufl.edu

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of social stress on symptoms of psychopathology at the entry into adolescence (111 girls, Mage = 11.84, SD = 0.77). We examined whether peer stress and pubertal timing were associated with internalizing distress and aggression, and whether responses to stress and cortisol reactivity mediated or moderated these associations. Cortisol samples were collected from saliva samples during in-home visits, and the YSR was used to assess psychopathology. Interestingly, pubertal timing demonstrated a trend association with cortisol. Responses to stress mediated the association between social stress and symptoms of internalizing distress and aggression. Specifically, early maturers and girls with higher levels of peer stress exhibited more problematic responses to stress, in turn demonstrating higher levels of internalizing distress and aggression. Significant moderation effects also emerged. For example, early maturers who experienced higher levels of emotional/cognitive numbing in response to peer stress were at greater risk for aggression. Findings identify coping strategies that may be used in evidence-based programming to help girls transition more successfully into adolescence will be discussed.

PMID:
18465219
PMCID:
PMC3117326
DOI:
10.1007/s10802-008-9239-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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