In this study we consider whether bullies and victims are disliked by most of their classmates, or whether antipathy is concentrated among the occupants of these roles. Antipathy nominations were collected from a community sample of 699 Finnish adolescents (14 to 17 years of age), who described their own bullying and victimization, as well as problem behaviors and school engagement. Victimization was associated with antipathy, but the strength of the association differed according to characteristics of the nominator. Victimization was related to antipathy when the nominator was high on bullying but not low. Similarly, bullying was related to antipathy when the nominator was high on victimization, but not low. The findings indicate that although bullies and victims have elevated mean levels of rejection, they are not disliked by most peers but rather by those who report themselves to be high on these attributes.
Maternal and paternal psychological control, peer attitudes, and the interaction of psychological control and peer attitudes at age 13 were examined as predictors of risky sexual behavior before age 16 in a community sample of 181 youth followed from age 13 to 16. Maternal psychological control moderated the link between peer attitudes and sexual behavior. Peer acceptance of early sex predicted greater risky sexual behaviors, but only for teens whose mothers engaged in high levels of psychological control. Paternal psychological control demonstrated the same moderating effect for girls; for boys, however, high levels of paternal control predicted risky sex regardless of peer attitudes. Results are consistent with the theory that peer influences do not replace parental influences with regard to adolescent sexual behavior; rather, parental practices continue to serve an important role either directly forecasting sexual behavior or moderating the link between peer attitudes and sexual behavior.
The long-term import of a fundamental challenge of adolescent social development—establishing oneself as a desirable peer companion while avoiding problematic behaviors often supported within peer groups—was examined in a community sample of 184 adolescents, followed from ages 13 to 23, along with parents, peers, and romantic partners. The dialectical nature of this challenge appeared in findings that autonomy vis-a-vis peer influences predicted both long-term success avoiding problematic behavior, but also more difficulty establishing strong adult friendships. Conversely, being a desirable peer companion in adolescence predicted more positive adult relationships, but also greater alcohol use. Adolescents who established themselves as both desirable companions and as autonomous vis-à-vis peers were rated as most successful by their parents at age 23.
Pseudomature behavior—ranging from minor delinquency to precocious romantic involvement— is widely viewed as a nearly normative feature of adolescence. When such behavior occurs early in adolescence, however, it was hypothesized to reflect a misguided overemphasis upon impressing peers and was considered likely to predict long-term adjustment problems. In a multimethod, multi-reporter study following a community sample of 184 adolescents from age 13 to 23, early adolescent pseudomature behavior was linked cross-sectionally to a heightened desire for peer popularity and to short-term success with peers. Longitudinal results, however, supported the study’s central hypothesis: Early adolescent pseudomature behavior predicted long-term difficulties in close relationships, as well as significant problems with alcohol and substance use, and elevated levels of criminal behavior.
The long-term social sequelae of adolescent depressive symptoms were examined in a multimethod, multi-reporter study of a diverse community sample of 179 adolescents followed from age 14 to 24. Even mild to moderate levels of early adolescent depressive symptoms strongly predicted loneliness, lower maternal relationship quality, and problematic interactions with romantic partners in adulthood, even after accounting for prior levels of social functioning and concurrent levels of adult depressive symptoms. Predictions were partially mediated via late adolescent avoidance of social interactions and poor maternal relationship quality. Results are interpreted as suggesting the potential impact of depressive symptoms on core tasks of adolescent social development, with potential implications for the need for treatment of even mild symptoms and their social concomitants.
This study investigated whether insecure adolescent attachment organization (i.e., preoccupied and dismissing) longitudinally predicted self- and peer-reported externalizing behavior in emerging adulthood. Secondarily, maladaptive coping strategies were examined for their potential role in mediating the relationship between insecure attachment and future externalizing behaviors. Target participants (N = 184) were given the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) at age 14 and reinterviewed seven and eight years later with their closest peer. Qualities of both preoccupied and dismissing attachment organization predicted self-reported externalizing behaviors in emerging adulthood eight years later, but only preoccupation was predictive of close-peer reports of emerging adult externalizing behavior. Maladaptive coping strategies only mediated the relationship between a dismissing stance toward attachment and future self-reported externalizing behaviors. Understanding the role of coping and emotional regulation in attachment may help us to understand the unique aspects of both dismissing and preoccupied stances toward attachment.
Successfully navigating entry into romantic relationships is a key task in adolescence, which sensitivity to rejection can make difficult to accomplish. This study uses multi-informant data from a community sample of 180 adolescents assessed repeatedly from age 16 to 22. Individuals with elevated levels of rejection sensitivity at age 16 were less likely to have a romantic partner at age 22, reported more anxiety and avoidance when they did have relationships, and were observed to be more negative in their interactions with romantic partners. In addition, females whose rejection sensitivity increased during late adolescence were more likely to adopt a submissive pattern within adult romantic relationships, further suggesting a pattern in which rejection sensitivity forecasts difficulties.
Background: Social anxiety has been associated with potentiated negative affect and, more recently, with diminished positive affect. It is unclear how these alterations in negative and positive affect are represented neurally in socially anxious individuals and, further, whether they generalize to non-social stimuli. To explore this, we used a monetary incentive paradigm to explore the association between social anxiety and both the anticipation and consumption of non-social incentives. Eighty-four individuals from a longitudinal community sample underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while participating in a monetary incentive delay (MID) task. The MID task consisted of alternating cues indicating the potential to win or prevent losing varying amounts of money based on the speed of the participant’s response. We examined whether self-reported levels of social anxiety, averaged across approximately 7 years of data, moderated brain activity when contrasting gain or loss cues with neutral cues during the anticipation and outcome phases of incentive processing. Whole brain analyses and analyses restricted to the ventral striatum for the anticipation phase and the medial prefrontal cortex for the outcome phase were conducted.
Results: Social anxiety did not associate with differences in hit rates or reaction times when responding to cues. Further, socially anxious individuals did not exhibit decreased ventral striatum activity during anticipation of gains or decreased MPFC activity during the outcome of gain trials, contrary to expectations based on literature indicating blunted positive affect in social anxiety. Instead, social anxiety showed positive associations with extensive regions implicated in default mode network activity (for example, precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex, and parietal lobe) during anticipation and receipt of monetary gain. Social anxiety was further linked with decreased activity in the ventral striatum during anticipation of monetary loss.
Conclusions: Socially anxious individuals may increase default mode network activity during reward processing, suggesting high self-focused attention even in relation to potentially rewarding stimuli lacking explicit social connotations. Additionally, social anxiety may relate to decreased ventral striatum reactivity when anticipating potential losses.