This study examined the longitudinal and bidirectional relations between perceived autonomy support from parents and friends and depressive symptoms. Gender differences in these relations were also investigated. In this five-wave study questionnaires were filled out by 923 early adolescents and 390 middle adolescents annually, thereby covering an age range from 12 to 20. Multi-group path analysis showed that: (1) autonomy support from parents was negatively related to depressive symptoms of boys and girls, (2) boys’ autonomy support predicted subsequent depressive symptoms (3) girls’ depressive symptoms predicted perceived autonomy support, (4) autonomy support from friends was negatively related to depressive symptoms of boys, and (5) more autonomy support from friends predicted more depressive symptoms. These results suggests that for depressive girls only perceptions of autonomy support from parents are relevant, and that for depressive boys perceptions of autonomy support from both parents and friends are of importance
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