Neurobiological correlates of stress and the pathophysiology of depression: associations among social victimization, IL-6, CRP, and BDNF Val66Met
Arana, Allyson Antoinette
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Peer victimization, a common psychosocial stressor in adolescence, is linked to adverse health outcomes ranging from depression to changes in biological functioning. Social victimization is particularly harmful given the importance placed on peer relations and social status during this developmental period. This dissertation evaluated the associations among social victimization, physical health, psychological health, the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism, and inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6 and CRP) in a diverse sample of adolescents (N = 254). Social victimization was related to depressive symptoms, health problems, and inflammation, partially replicating a previous study. BDNF Val66Met moderated the link between social victimization and health outcomes, such that the association was stronger for homozygous Val teens. Additionally, social victimization was related to negative health consequences regardless of social bullying in moderated multiple regression analyses. Finally, the role of gender as a moderator was explored, with results indicating that female victims, male bully-victims, and female Met carriers generally reported worse outcomes. These results underscore the importance of accounting for social, biological, and genetic factors related to depressive symptoms and health outcomes.