The Role of Peer Deviance and Social Support in the Development of Symptoms of Internalizing Disorders among Youth Exposed to Hurricane Georges
Schwartz, Sonia Lynne
University of Kansas
Clinical Child Psychology
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Adolescents exposed to hurricanes may be at risk to develop symptoms of internalizing disorders. The impact of hurricane exposure on peer systems may contribute to the emergence of symptoms of internalizing disorders. This study examined the influence of peer system variables in the development of internalizing disorder symptoms in adolescents exposed to Hurricane Georges. Participants included 905 youth (52.6% males) ages 11-17 residing in Puerto Rico. Hurricane exposure predicted lower social support from friends (β = -.10, p = .005). An interaction between age and hurricane exposure predicted peer substance use (β = -.08, p = .01). Hurricane exposure, peer violence, and peer substance use also predicted whether adolescents met criteria for symptoms of internalizing disorders. With the increasing role peers play in children's lives as they develop into adolescence, understanding peers influence on the development of internalizing symptoms following hurricane exposure may assist in planning developmentally sensitive response plans.