Self-concept, depression, and negative peer interactions: Exploring the social and psychological health of college students
SubjectPeer interactions; Self-concept; Social interaction; Psychology, Social; College students -- Mental health; College students -- Psychology
This exploratory self-report study examined the links between self-concept, psychological health, and negative peer interactions among college students. While a wealth of past research is devoted to examining such constructs individually no attempt has been made to simultaneously explore these three areas of research and their connections to one another. Participants were 87 college students with a mean age of 18.84 (SD = 1.28). These participants were given a packet of surveys that assessed self-esteem, self-consciousness, fear of negative evaluation, relational aggression, relational victimization, rejection sensitivity, frequency of self-reinforcement, depression, and anxiety. All of the aforementioned variables were significantly correlated with depression (p < .00) and with the likelihood to engage in self-reinforcement behaviors (p < .05, with the exception of relational aggression which was insignificant). Multiple linear regression modeling indicates that rejection sensitivity, relational victimization, and fear of negative evaluation were all significantly predictive of depression. This model accounted for 28.3% of the variance in depression. A second model indicates that rejection sensitivity, self-reinforcement, and depression all significantly predict self-esteem, with this model accounting for 48.2% of the variance in self-esteem. A third model indicates that self-esteem, fear of negative evaluation, and depression all significantly predict self-consciousness, with the model accounting for 40.9% of the variance in self-consciousness. All independent variables in each of the aforementioned models reached individual significance (p < .05). These results contribute to a growing body of research asserting that peer interactions play a major role in the social and psychological health of college students.