The promotive effects of peer support and active coping in relation to negative life events and depression in Chinese adolescents at boarding schools

  • Jia-Lin Gao
  • Li-Hui Wang
  • Xue-Qin Yin
  • Hsing-Fang Hsieh
  • Detlef H. Rost
  • Marc A. Zimmerman
  • Jin-Liang WangEmail author


Mental health issues among Chinese adolescents in boarding schools have attracted the attention of researchers in recent years. Our study was to examine the relationship between negative life events and depression experienced by Chinese adolescents at boarding schools, and to study whether peer support and active coping would moderate the relationship between negative life events and depression. Questionnaires were administered in 2015 to a sample of 521 boarding school students (51.1% females) in two counties in Jiangxi Province, central China. The mean age of the sample was 13.47 years (SD = 1.04). The Adolescent Negative Life Event Scale, Peer Support Scale, Simple Active Coping Style Scale, and Children Depression Scale were used for data collection. Latent moderation structural equation (LMS) method was used to test the moderating effect of peer support and active coping on depression. Negative life events were related with more depression among boarding school students. Peer support had a negative effect on depression and active coping moderated the association between negative life events and depression. Peer support and active coping are important to relieve the adverse consequences of negative life events among boarding school students. School mental health practice that focuses on these factors may be helpful for boarding school students.


Negative life events Depression Peer support Active coping 



This work was supported by the Key Cultivating Project in Southwest University [grant number is SWU1809006].

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study had been approved by the ethical review board of the School of Psychology, Southwest University.

Informed Consent

Oral informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jia-Lin Gao
    • 1
  • Li-Hui Wang
    • 1
  • Xue-Qin Yin
    • 1
  • Hsing-Fang Hsieh
    • 2
  • Detlef H. Rost
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marc A. Zimmerman
    • 2
  • Jin-Liang Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Mental Health Education, School of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthMichigan UniversityAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyMarburg UniversityMarburgGermany

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