Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Adolesc Health. 1997 Apr;20(4):271-8.

Depressive symptoms in California adolescents: family structure and parental support.

Author information

San Diego State University, California, USA.



To examine the relationship between family structure, parental social support, and depressive symptoms among California adolescents.


The depressive symptom instrument consisted of a previously validated self-report scale. The sample was the 1993 California Youth Tobacco Survey respondents (N = 5,531). The analysis classified adolescents in the highest 15% on the depressive symptom scale as having notable depressive symptoms and related the prevalence of depression to family structure (two-parent, single-mother, single-father, and neither parent present) and to parental support (adolescents naming parents as someone they could talk to about problems).


Girls reported significantly higher rates of depressive symptoms than boys. Although adolescents in single-parent households tended to show slightly higher rates of depressive symptoms, these rates did not differ significantly across the four types of family structures for either sex. Significantly higher rates of depressive symptoms were found among both boys and girls who resided with parent(s) not named as supportive than those who lived with supportive parent(s). Girls appeared particularly vulnerable if they lived in a nonsupportive, single-father household.


Lack of perceived parental social support is highly related to depressive symptoms in California adolescents. Helping parents establish and maintain supportive relationships with the children in their household may decrease the likelihood of depressive symptoms among adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center