Students with depression find friendship among those with similar dispositions
ATLANTA — Depressed teens skirt the social margins of high school mainly because they choose to form friendships with the relatively few peers who struggle with comparably bleak moods, according to a study presented August 15 by David Schaefer of Arizona State University in Tempe.
Social withdrawal and avoidance of other people by depressed teens prompts their selectivity in choosing friends, Schaefer said at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
“These students aren’t avoided by others at school because they’re depressed, and their depression is not a product of having poor-quality friendships,” he asserted.
Nondepressed teens gravitated toward friendships with peers who shared their sunnier dispositions, Schaefer added.
Schaefer and Arizona State colleague Olga Kornienko analyzed data — previously gathered by other researchers — from a longitudinal study of 3,702 teens at 16 publi