American Sociological Association

Contextualizing Depressive Contagion: A Multilevel Network Approach

The purpose of this study is to examine microsocial and macrosocial contextual moderators of adolescent depressive contagion. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), the authors find evidence supporting the depressive contagion thesis. This effect is observed above and beyond key social relationship and sociodemographic controls. To examine the role of social context in moderating the effect of depressive contagion, the authors utilize a longitudinal mixed effects model using Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the Add Health survey. The results reveal that depressive contagion is more salient for adolescents who are embedded in dense peer networks and attend schools with high network density and mutuality. Furthermore, popular students, measured as the number of received friendship nominations, are more vulnerable to depressive contagion. Overall, the findings in this study demonstrate a differential vulnerability to depressive contagion dependent on microsocial and macrosocial context.


Guan, W., Kamo, Y.





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