Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson


This study bridges the gap in literature about the impact of extended family relationships on young adult depression and self-esteem. A sample of 304 undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 21 at the University of Kentucky was recruited to complete an online survey about their immediate and extended family relationships and their mental health. The largest predictor of self-esteem and depression in early young adults is perceived social support from the family of origin, which is also moderately correlated with perceived support from extended family members. This indicates that extended family support collaborates with family of origin support to benefit self-esteem and depression levels. Depression also decreases through more positive interactions with extended family members. Males benefited less than females from extended family relationships, as evidenced by the result that closer extended kin relationships were the second largest predictor of more depressive symptoms in males. These findings inform therapists about effective ways of conducting therapy with college students and support the use of Bowen family systems therapy.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Counseling Commons