Date of Award

December 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Committee Member

Andrew Whitehead

Committee Member

Catherine Mobley

Committee Member

Amanda Rumsey


Depression among young adults is a growing concern that becomes more severe every year. Several factors can contribute to one’s feelings of depression including how much someone communicates their feelings to their parents. Communication with parent’s relationship to depression among young adults is a largely unexplored area of research that this study covers. The purpose of this study is to test gender differences in communication with one’s parents and how parental communication affects feelings of depression. Using the third wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR), a nationally representative data set consisting of 1680 young adults living in the United States, this study tests several hypotheses analyzing this relationship. I show that young adults who communicate their feelings to their parents have lower feelings of depression, young adult women are generally more depressed than young adult men, young adults are more likely to communicate their feelings to the same gendered parent, and communicating with either one’s mother or father affects feelings of depression at about the same rate. The results found in the present analysis differ from those found in prior research. This is likely due to differences between adolescents and young adults. These contrary results encourage that more research in this area be done focusing on young adults or older age groups.



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