Examining the Role of BIS/BAS, Peer Relationships, and Negative Life Events in Depressive Experiences and Alcohol Abuse among Youth from a North American Indian Plains Tribe

Mullings, Austin F.
Past research has shown that temperament has been implicated in influencing youth depression and drug abuse (Davidson, 1998; Gray, 1987; Meyer, Johnson, & Carver 1999; Meyer, Johnson, & Winters, 2001). Youth exhibiting low behavioral activation (BAS) and high behavioral inhibition (BIS) have been found to exhibit more depressive symptoms (Johnson, Turner, & Iwata, 2003). Hamill, Scott, Dearing and Pepper (2009) investigated the role of temperament in the depressive experiences of American Indian (AI) youth and found that AI youth who were low in BAS and high in BIS appeared to be most vulnerable to depressive experiences. We further investigated the role of temperament in the depressive experiences and drug abuse of AI youth by exploring the role of negative life events and peer relationships. Specifically, we predicted that AI youth possessing a "vulnerable" temperament (i.e., low BAS and high BIS) would experience more negative peer relationships which would mediate relationships between temperament and depressive experiences. Approximately 270 AI youth (grades 4-12) on a North American Plains Reservation completed a packet of questionnaires including the Behavioral Inhibition and Activation Scale (Carver & White, 1994), the Revised Peer Experiences Questionnaire (Prinstein, Boergers, Vernberg, 2001), the Recent Negative Life Events Questionnaire (Novins, Beals, Roberts, & Manson, 1999), and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI; Kovacs, 1992). Path analyses will be conducted to examine whether negative life events or the quality of peer relations mediates any relationship between temperament and depressive symptoms.
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