Mother, father, teacher, and peer support and their links with adolescent psychosocial outcomes
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Using data from a nationally representative study on adolescent health (Add Health), this study examined the direct and interrelated associations of emotional support from four key providers (mother, father, teacher, and peers) and adolescent psychosocial outcomes. These associations were examined at three time points, following participants from early adolescence to early adulthood. The study also explored how the influences of various support relationships change during the transition from early adolescence to early adulthood and how such changes affect outcomes. Support from mother, father, teacher and peers were linked to improvements in different domains of adolescent outcomes, with the exception of peer supports’ link with increased delinquent behavior. The perceived support from the sources examined was also predictive of psychosocial functioning across time. This study also found fathers’ perceived support to be predictive of more of the psychosocial domains examined than mothers, indicating that father support has more substantial influence than previously thought. Further, the positive associations among adolescent outcomes and teacher support were not found to be as domain-specific for adolescents as espoused in the literature. In addition, when multi-group models were used to examine age differences in associations between perceived support and adolescent outcomes, middle adolescence appeared to be the period when adolescents are most receptive to all the support relationships examined. Adolescents’ psychosocial functioning was also found to be predictive of different sources of perceived support.