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Social Support in Unprecedented Times: An Examination of Low-Income Adolescents’ Stress, Social Support, and Affect Before and During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Scanlon, Christina L. (2021) Social Support in Unprecedented Times: An Examination of Low-Income Adolescents’ Stress, Social Support, and Affect Before and During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The sudden, unpredictable, and isolative nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is of concern to developmentalists, as it has produced a suboptimal context for adaptive functioning. Social support has been shown to be an effective coping mechanism for buffering the effects of normative stress on adolescent psychological well-being, but what happens when normative stress becomes intertwined with the pervasive economic, health-related, and social stress that accompanies a global pandemic? This study examines the moderating role of minoritized status and social support in the relation between adolescent stress and affect in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 using a sample of Black and White adolescents from low-income backgrounds. Significant differences were found between Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 stress, affect, and social support among Black and White adolescents. Among the full sample, stress predicted positive and negative affect in both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020. While social support shared a predictive relationship with positive affect in both waves, it did not moderate the relation stress and negative or positive affect. When differences were examined among Black and White adolescents, though, the expected moderation effect was present in 2019 negative affect models for White adolescents only. This study sheds new light on understanding adolescents’ stress, coping, and affect before and during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of wealth and racial inequality with implications for future research and practice.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Scanlon, Christina L.cls143@pitt.educls1430000-0002-7995-9518
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairBachman, Heatherhbachman@pitt.eduhbachman
Committee CoChairWang, Ming-Temtwang@pitt.edumtwang
Committee MemberKerr, Mary Margaretmmkerr@pitt.edummkerr
Committee MemberHuguley, Jameshuguley@pitt.eduhuguley
Date: 31 August 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 June 2021
Approval Date: 31 August 2021
Submission Date: 20 July 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 112
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Psychology in Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19, adolescent, stress, social support, psychological well-being, racial differences
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 14:44
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 14:44


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