Connectedness to Family, School, and Neighborhood and Adolescents’ Internalizing Symptoms

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In the U.S., there is a strong national interest in social connectedness as a key determinant in promoting positive well-being in adolescents through building strong bonds and creating protective relationships that support adolescent mental health. To this end, this study examined whether, and to what extent, specific types of connectedness to family, school, and neighborhood were associated with internalizing symptoms (i.e., depression and anxiety) among a diverse sample of adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds. The sample (n = 2590) was majority male (51%), with an average age of 15.6 years, and identified as Black (49%) and Hispanic/Latino (26%). The results revealed that adolescents who reported strong connections to their parent (β = −0.128, p < 0.001), school (β = −0.222, p < 0.001), and neighborhood (β = −0.116, p = 0.003) were more likely to report lower levels of depressive symptomology, with school connectedness exerting a greater influence. In addition, parent connectedness (β = −0.157, p < 0.001) and school connectedness (β = −0.166, p < 0.001) were significantly related to teen anxiety; however, neighborhood connectedness was not (β = −0.123, p = 0.087). The findings have important implications, which are discussed.

International journal of environmental research and public health
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