Social inequalities in adolescent depression: The role of parental social support and optimism

Bettina F. Piko, Aleksandra Luszczynska, Kevin M. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Interpersonal theory suggests relationships between socio-economic status (SES) and adolescent psychopathology mediated by negative parenting. This study examines the role of perceived parental social support and optimism in understanding adolescents' depression and self-rated health among a sample of Hungarian youth. Methods: Using a self-administered questionnaire, data (N = 881) were collected from high-school students (14-20 years old) in Szeged, Hungary (a regional centre in the southeastern region, near to the Serbian border, with a population of 170,000 inhabitants). To analyse the overall structure of the relationship between objective/subjective SES, parental support, optimism and health outcomes (depression, self-perceived health), structural equation modelling (SEM) was employed. Results: Findings suggest the following: (1) SES variables generate social inequalities in adolescent depression through parental social support, particularly maternal support; and (2) parents provide youths with different levels of social support that in turn may strengthen or weaken optimism during the socialization process. Conclusions: In addressing depression prevention and treatment, we may want to take into account socio-economic differences in social networks and levels of optimism, which may influence youths' psychosocial adjustment and development of psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Social inequalities
  • adolescent depression
  • optimism
  • self-perceived health
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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