- •Peers contribute to development, disclosure, and management of depressive symptoms.
- •Peers may promote harmful self-management strategies for Latina teens.
- •Peers may protect from stress or help Latina teens to cope with depression.
- •Latina teens rely more on peers in absence of parental support.
- •Interventions should capitalize on strengths and mitigate risks of peers' influence.
Previous research has demonstrated that peers may play an integral role in the development of depressive symptoms among Latina adolescents; however, little is known about the function of peers in the ongoing management of depressive symptoms for Latina adolescents. The purpose of this study was to describe how peers influence Latina adolescents' experiences with the onset and ongoing management of depressive symptoms.
Design and methods
Qualitative descriptive methods were used in conducting semi-structured interviews with twenty-five young Latinas (ages 13–20) who had a history of depressive symptoms during adolescence. Participants were asked to describe their experiences with depressive symptoms and how they interacted with others in relation to their depressive symptoms. Thematic analysis methods were used to identify common themes in how peers influenced Latina adolescents' experiences with depressive symptoms.
Latina adolescents experienced tensions with peers in the development, disclosure, and self-management of depressive symptoms. Peers were: 1) allies and bullies; 2) confidants and betrayers; and 3) up-lifters and downers.
Peer relationships can be a source of risk and resiliency for Latina adolescents throughout the process of experiencing depressive symptoms.
Interventions preventing or treating depression among Latina adolescents should capitalize on the strengths of peer relationships, while recognizing that peers may also contribute to risk.
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Published online: September 17, 2020
Accepted: July 14, 2020
Received in revised form: July 14, 2020
Received: January 29, 2020
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