Objective—Youths' ability to positively cope with negative emotions and their self-perceived friendship competence were examined as potential moderators of links between multiple aspects of romantic relationships and residualized increases in depressive symptoms from late adolescence into early adulthood.
Method—Participants included 184 teens (46% male; 42% non-white) assessed at ages 15-19 and 21, as well as a sub-sample of 62 romantic partners of participants assessed when teens were 18.
Results—Results of hierarchical linear regressions showed that positive coping served as a buffer against depressive symptoms for romantically involved adolescents and also for teens receiving more intense emotional support from their romantic partners, but not for youth whose relationship had ended and had not been replaced by a new relationship. Higher perceived friendship competence served as a buffer against depressive symptoms for youth enduring the dissolution and non-replacement of their romantic relationship.
Conclusions—Greater use of positive coping skills and higher perceived friendship competence may help protect adolescents from depressive symptoms in different types of romantic experiences.