This study examined associations between cumulative contextual risk in childhood and depression diagnosis in early adulthood, testing two adolescent mediating mechanisms, alcohol use and perceived social support from family and friends, while accounting for the stability of internalizing problems over time and examining possible gender moderation. Multiple group mediation analyses were conducted using parent- and adolescent-report as well as hospital records data from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (N = 6963). Our analyses demonstrated that the association between cumulative contextual risk in childhood and depression diagnosis in adulthood is mediated by adolescent alcohol use and perceived social support both for boys and girls. The findings highlight potentially malleable mediating mechanisms associated with depression in vulnerable youth that could be targets in selective depression preventive interventions.
Keywords: Adolescence; Adulthood; Alcohol use; Cumulative contextual risk; Depression; Gender; Social support.
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