Costello, M. A., Pettit, C., Hellwig, A. F., Hunt, G. L., Bailey, N. A., & Allen, J. P. (2024). Adolescent social learning within supportive friendships: Self-disclosure and relationship quality from adolescence to adulthood. Journal of Research on Adolescence. (Original work published 2024)

This study examines links between self-disclosure and relationship quality with close friends from adolescence to adulthood. A diverse community sample of adolescents (N = 184) participated in survey and observational measures annually from ages 13 through 29, along with their close friends and romantic partners. Random intercept cross-lagged panel modeling (RICLPM) was used to parse markers of within-individual change from age 13 to 18. Long-term longitudinal path models also investigated cascading associations among self-disclosure and relationship quality, on aggregate, from adolescence to adulthood. Adolescents who reported a higher-quality friendship in a given year demonstrated greater-than-expected increases in self-disclosure the following year, and an adolescent demonstrated high self-disclosure one year reported greater-than-expected increases in friendship quality the following year. Higher mean self-disclosure in adolescence predicted higher mean self-disclosure in adulthood. Results are interpreted as identifying high-quality adolescent friendships as key contexts for developing intimacy-building capacities (i.e. self-disclosure), which sets the stage for satisfying close relationships in adulthood.

Bailey, N. A., Costello, M. A., Stern, J. A., Davis, A. A., & Allen, J. P. (2024). Adolescent responses to paternal verbal aggression: Assessing spillover and compensatory processes using random intercept cross-lagged panel models. Journal of Adolescence. (Original work published 2024)


Prior research suggests several pathways through which verbal aggression manifests across adolescent relationship contexts, including spillover (continuity of aggression across different relationships) and compensation (offsetting an aggressive relationship with less aggression in other relationships). These pathways vary across timescales in ways that between-person analytic approaches are unlikely to adequately capture. The current study used random intercept cross-lagged panel modeling (RI-CLPM) to examine adolescents' spillover and compensatory responses to paternal verbal aggression.


Participants were 184 adolescents (53.2% female) from a United States community sample participating in a longitudinal study. Annually from ages 13–17, participants reported on their experiences of verbal aggression in their paternal and maternal relationships and participated in observed interactions with a close peer that were coded for aggressive behavior.


Spillover was observed from father-adolescent to mother-adolescent and adolescent-peer contexts in analyses at the between-person level, likely capturing long-term, cumulative effects of paternal aggression. Conversely, compensation was observed in analyses at the within-person level, likely capturing medium-term (i.e., year-to-year) adaptations to paternal aggression: Adolescents who experienced more aggression from their father than expected at a specific time point were less likely to both perpetrate and experience aggression in maternal and peer relationships the following year. Several findings differed across teen gender, with compensation more likely to occur in males than females.


These findings highlight the multiple pathways by which father-adolescent aggression may be linked to behavior in other relationships in the medium- and long-term. They also support the value of RI-CLPM in decomposing these effects.

Tang, D., Boker, S. M., & Tong, X. (2024). Are the Signs of Factor Loadings Arbitrary in Confirmatory Factor Analysis? Problems and Solutions. Structural Equation Modeling : A Multidisciplinary Journal. (Original work published 2024)

The replication crisis in social and behavioral sciences has raised concerns about the reliability and validity of empirical studies. While research in the literature has explored contributing factors to this crisis, the issues related to analytical tools have received less attention. This study focuses on a widely used analytical tool - confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) - and investigates one issue that is typically overlooked in practice: accurately estimating factor-loading signs. Incorrect loading signs can distort the relationship between observed variables and latent factors, leading to unreliable or invalid results in subsequent analyses. Our study aims to investigate and address the estimation problem of factor-loading signs in CFA models. Based on an empirical demonstration and Monte Carlo simulation studies, we found current methods have drawbacks in estimating loading signs. To address this problem, three solutions are proposed and proven to work effectively. The applications of these solutions are discussed and elaborated.

Szwedo, D. E., Davis, A. A., Fowler, C., Mikami, A. Y., & Allen, J. P. (2024). Social Media Posts from Friends during Late Adolescence as Predictors of Young Adult Physical Health. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. (Original work published 2024)

Although an increasing body of literature has linked social experiences to physical health, research has yet to consider how specific aspects of social experiences taking place on social media during late adolescence may predict future physical health outcomes. This study thus examined qualities of social media posts received from peers at age 21 as predictors of participants’ physical health (e.g., Interleukin-6 (inflammation), sleep problems, problems with physical functioning, and BMI) at age 28. Participants included 138 youth (59 men and 79 women); 57% of participants identified as White, 30% as Black/African American, and 13% as from other or mixed racial/ethnic groups. Posts from friends and participants at age 21 characterized by social ties predicted lower levels of future physical health problems, whereas socially inappropriate “faux pas” posts that deviated from peer norms by friends predicted higher levels of physical health problems at age 28. These associations were found after accounting for factors typically associated with physical health outcomes, including participants’ baseline social competence, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, alcohol use, observed physical attractiveness, and history of prior hospitalizations. The results of this study suggest the importance of both achieving social integration with peers online and adhering to peer norms in the online domain as key predictors of future physical health

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.

Allen, J. P., Costello, M. A., Pettit, C., Bailey, N. A., & Stern, J. A. (2024). Unique Roles of Adolescents’ Friends and Fathers in Predicting Verbal Aggression in Future Adult Romantic Relationships. Development and Psychopathology. (Original work published 2024)

This 20-year prospective study examined verbal aggression and intense conflict within the family of origin and between adolescents and their close friends as predictors of future verbal aggression in adult romantic relationships. A diverse community sample of 154 individuals was assessed repeatedly from age 13 to 34 years using self-, parent, peer, and romantic partner reports. As hypothesized, verbal aggression in adult romantic relationships was best predicted by both paternal verbal aggression toward mothers and by intense conflict within adolescent close friendships, with each factor contributing unique variance to explaining adult romantic verbal aggression. These factors also interacted, such that paternal verbal aggression was predictive of future romantic verbal aggression only in the context of co-occurring intense conflict between an adolescent and their closest friend. Predictions remained robust even after accounting for levels of parental abusive behavior toward the adolescent, levels of physical violence between parents, and the overall quality of the adolescent’s close friendship. Results indicate the critical importance of exposure to aggression and conflict within key horizontal relationships in adolescence. Implications for early identification of risk as well as for potential preventive interventions are discussed.


Boker, S. M., Oertzen, T., Pritikin, J., Hunter, M. D., Brick, T. R., Brandmaier, A. M., & Neale, M. C. (2023). Products of Variables in Structural Equation Models. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal , 30(5). (Original work published 2023)

A general method is introduced in which variables that are products of other variables in the context of a structural equation model (SEM) can be decomposed into the sources of variance due to the multiplicands. The result is a new category of SEM which we call a Products of Variables Model (PoV). Some useful and practical features of PoV models include the estimation of interactions between latent variables, latent variable moderators, manifest moderators with missing values, and manifest or latent squared terms. Expected means and covariances are analytically derived for a simple product of two variables and it is shown that the method reproduces previously published results for this special case. It is shown algebraically that using centered multiplicands results in an unidentified model, but if the multiplicands have non-zero means, the result is identified. The method has been implemented in OpenMx and Ωnyx and is applied in five extensive simulations.

Lin, J., Stern, J. A., Allen, J. P., & Coan, J. A. (2023). Does Attachment in Adolescence Predict Neural Responses to Handholding in Adulthood? A fMRI Study. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. (Original work published 2023)

Objective: Early life experiences, including attachment-related experiences, inform internal working models that guide adult relationship behaviors. Few studies have examined the association between adolescent attachment and adult relationship behavior on a neural level. The current study examined attachment in adolescence and its longitudinal associations with relationship behaviors in adulthood neurally.


85 participants completed the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) at age 14. Ten years later, at age 24, participants underwent functional brain image when participants were under the threat of electric shock alone, holding the hand of a stranger, or their partner.


We found that adolescents who were securely attached at age 14 showed increased activation in regions commonly associated with cognitive, affective, and reward processing when they held the hand of their partner and stranger compared to being alone. Adolescents with dismissing attachment at age 14 showed decreased activation in similar regions during partner and stranger handholding compared to being alone. On the other hand, adolescents with preoccupied attachment showed decreased activation in similar regions only during the stranger handholding condition compared to being alone.


These findings suggest that adolescent attachment predicts adult social relationship behaviors on a neural level, in regions largely consistent with previous literature. Broadly, this study has implications for understanding long-term links between attachment and adult relationship behaviors and has potential for informing intervention.

Lin, J., Namaky, N., Costello, M., Uchino, B. N., Allen, J. P., & Coan, J. (2023). Social Regulation of the Neural Threat Response Predicts Subsequent Markers of Physical Health. Psychosomatic Medicine. (Original work published 2023)


Social Regulation of the Neural Threat Response Predicts Subsequent Markers of Physical Health

Lin, Jingrun MA; Namaky, Nauder PhD; Costello, Meghan MA; Uchino, Bert N. PhD; Allen, Joseph P. PhD; Coan, James A. PhD

Author Information

From the Department of Psychology (Lin, Costello, Allen, Coan), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Namaky), Alpert Medical School of Brown University; RR&D Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, Providence VA Medical Center (Namaky), Providence, Rhode Island; Department of Psychology (Uchino), University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Address correspondence to Jingrun Lin, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, 240D Gilmer Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22904. E-mail:

Received for publication March 16, 2023; revision received June 25, 2023.

Article Editor: Daryl O'Connor

Supplemental Digital Content

Psychosomatic Medicine 85(9):p 763-771, 11/12 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001238




Social support has been linked to a vast range of beneficial health outcomes. However, the physiological mechanisms of social support are not well characterized. Drawing on functional magnetic resonance imaging and health-related outcome data, this study aimed to understand how neural measures of “yielding”—the reduction of brain activity during social support—moderate the link between social support and health.


We used a data set where 78 participants around the age of 24 years were exposed to the threat of shock when holding the hand of a partner. At ages 28 to 30 years, participants returned for a health visit where inflammatory activity and heart rate variability were recorded.


Findings showed a significant interaction between dorsal anterior cingulate cortex–related yielding and perceived social support on C-reactive protein levels (β = −0.95, SE = 0.42, z = −2.24, p = .025, 95% confidence interval = −1.77 to −0.12). We also found a significant interaction between hypothalamus-related yielding and perceived social support on baseline heart rate variability (β = 0.51, SE = 0.23, z = 2.19, p = .028, 95% confidence interval = 0.05 to 0.97).


Greater perceived social support was associated with lower C-reactive protein levels and greater baseline heart rate variability among individuals who were more likely to yield to social support in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and hypothalamus years earlier. The current study highlights the construct of yielding in the link between social support and physical health.

Allen, J. P., Costello, M. A., Hellwig, A. F., Pettit, C., Stern, J. A., & Uchino, B. N. (2023). Adolescent caregiving success as a predictor of social functioning from ages 13 to 33. Child Development. (Original work published 2023)

Adolescent success providing satisfying support in response to a close friend's call in a caregiving task was examined as a potentially fundamental developmental competence likely to predict future social functioning, adult caregiving security, and physical health. Adolescents (86 males, 98 females; 58% White, 29% African American, 8% mixed race/ethnicity, 5% other) were followed from ages 13 to 33 (1998–2021) using multiple methods and reporters. Early caregiving success was found to predict greater self- and partner-reported caregiving security, lower negativity in adult relationships, and higher adult vagal tone. Results are interpreted as advancing our understanding beyond simply recognizing that adolescent friendships have long-term import, to now identifying specific capacities within friendships that are linked to longer-term outcomes.