Pathways from adolescent close friendship struggles to adult negative affectivity

Allen, J. P., Costello, M. A., Hellwig, A. F., & Stern, J. A. (2024). Pathways from adolescent close friendship struggles to adult negative affectivity. Development and Psychopathology.


This 19-year prospective study applied a social development lens to the challenge of identifying long-term predictors of adult negative affectivity. A diverse community sample of 169 individuals was repeatedly assessed from age 13 to age 32 using self-, parent-, and peer-reports. As hypothesized, lack of competence establishing and maintaining close friendships in adolescence had a substantial long-term predictive relation to negative affectivity at ages 27–32, even after accounting for prior depressive, anxious, and externalizing symptoms. Predictions also remained robust after accounting for concurrent levels of depressive symptoms, indicating that findings were not simply an artifact of previously established links between relationship quality and depressive symptoms. Predictions also emerged from poor peer relationships within young adulthood to future relative increases in negative affectivity by ages 27–32. Implications for early identification of risk as well as for potential preventive interventions are discussed.

Last updated on 05/22/2024