Personality, rejection sensitivity and perceptions of social support adequacy as predictors of college students' depressive symptoms

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica Leigh Kelliher (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Kia Asberg

Abstract: Depression is a common and potentially detrimental occurrence among emerging adults (18 to 25-year-olds), especially those enrolled in college. Underlying personality traits may predispose an individual to experience symptoms of depression, especially in the face of perceived rejection or inadequate social support. Contrary, adequate social support may “buffer” against the negative effects of certain personality traits (e.g., neuroticism) and the individual’s level of rejection sensitivity. Less is known about the interplay among these variables and the extent to which rejection sensitivity and perceived social support predict depressive symptoms above the more stable personality traits. Thus, the present study explored the role of personality, rejection sensitivity, and perceptions of social support from friends, family, and significant others in the prediction of depressive symptoms, with a specific aim of identifying possible variables for intervention with college students who may be at high risk of depression and its negative consequences. College students (N = 234) from a comprehensive southeastern regional college completed questionnaires pertaining to depression, personality, social support, rejection sensitivity, and life stress. Results indicated that, for the total sample, perceived social support, rejection sensitivity, perceived life stress, and the personality traits of neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, and conscientiousness, were all significantly correlated with depressive symptom scores. A regression equation for the five factor model (FFM) of personality determined that neuroticism and openness to experience contribute significant variance in depressive scores. Further, it was determined that perceived social support and perceived life stress also contribute significant variance to depressive symptom scores after controlling for the influence of personality. Results are suggestive of many targets of intervention in therapeutic settings, aimed at reducing depressive symptoms in college students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Depression, Depressive Symptoms, Neuroticism, Personality, Rejection Sensitivity, Social Support
College students -- Mental health -- United States -- Evaluation -- Case studies
College students -- Social networks -- United States -- Psychological aspects -- Case studies
Depression, Mental -- Diagnosis -- United States
Depression, Mental -- Treatment -- United States

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