Middle adolescents’ close friendship strength and the degree to which their broader peer group expressed a preference to afﬁliate with them were examined as predictors of relative change in depressive symptoms, self-worth, and social anxiety symptoms from ages 15 to 25 using multimethod, longitudinal data from 169 adolescents. Close friendship strength in midadolescence predicted relative increases in self-worth and decreases in anxiety and depressive symptoms by early adulthood. Afﬁliation preference by the broader peer group, in contrast, predicted higher social anxiety by early adulthood. Results are interpreted as suggesting that adolescents who prioritize forming close friendships are better situated to manage key social developmental tasks going forward than adolescents who prioritize attaining preference with many others in their peer milieu.
Adolescents’ negative social expectations of their peers were examined as long-term predictors of problematic self-reported social functioning. Early adolescent negative expectations were hypothesized to predict risk-averse functioning in late adolescence that would ultimately contribute to confirmation of those expectations. Utilizing observational data and friend- and selfreports from a community sample of 184 adolescents followed from ages 13 to 25, adolescents with more negative expectations were found to have become increasingly submissive with friends over time and were rated as less romantically appealing by late adolescence (after controlling for baseline levels of these variables, baseline friend-rated social competence and self-reported depressive symptoms). In turn, submissiveness and romantic appeal predicted problematic selfreported social functioning well into adulthood and mediated the relationship between adolescent negative expectations and problematic self-reported adult social functioning. These findings support the possibility of a self-fulfilling social process unfolding from early adolescence to adulthood.
Life history theory suggests that adult reward sensitivity should be best explained by childhood, but not current, socioeconomic conditions. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, 83 participants from a larger longitudinal sample completed the monetary incentive delay (MID) task in adulthood (∼25 years old). Parent-reports of neighborhood quality and parental SES were collected when participants were 13 years of age. Current income level was collected concurrently with scanning. Lower adolescent neighborhood quality, but neither lower currentincome nor parental SES, was associated with heightened sensitivity to the anticipation of monetary gain in putative mesolimbic reward areas. Lower adolescent neighborhood quality was also associated with heightened sensitivity to the anticipation of monetary loss activation in visuo-motor areas. Lower current income was associated with heightened sensitivity to anticipated loss in occipital areas and the operculum. We tested whether externalizing behaviors in childhood or adulthood could better account for neighborhood quality findings, but they did not. Findings suggest that neighborhood ecology in adolescence is associated with greater neural reward sensitivity in adulthood above the influence of parental SES or current income and not mediated through impulsivity and externalizing behaviors.
This study examined adolescents’ ability to utilize emotional repair—to actively change negative moods to more positive moods—as a predictor of the quality of their developing peer and romantic relationships over time. Utilizing observational data and partners’ reports, adolescents (N = 184), their close peers, and their romantic partners were followed from ages 15–19. Adolescents with initially stronger emotional repair abilities were rated as increasingly socially competent over time, and both displayed and experienced increasingly positive interactive behaviors with close peers over time. These adolescents’ romantic partners also reported more positive relationships, with enhanced communication, and fewer critical, blaming, or hostile interactions. Implications for the role of emotional repair abilities in the development of successful relationships during adolescence are discussed.
Background—Subjective well-being as a predictor for later behavior and health has highlighted its relationship to health, work performance, and social relationships. However, the majority of such studies neglect the developmental nature of well-being in contributing to important changes across the transition to adulthood.
Methods—To examine the potential role of subjective well-being as a long-term predictor of critical life outcomes, we examined indicators of positive and negative affect at age 14 as a predictor of relationship, adjustment, self worth, and career outcomes a decade later at ages 23 to 25, controlling for family income and gender. We utilized multi-informant methods including reports from the target participant, close friends, and romantic partners in a demographically diverse community sample of 184 participants.
Results—Early adolescent positive affect predicted less relationship problems (less selfreported and partner-reported conflict, greater friendship attachment as rated by close peers), healthy adjustment to adulthood (lower levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness). It also predicted positive work functioning (higher levels of career satisfaction and job competence) and increased self-worth. Negative affect did not significantly predict any of these important life outcomes. In addition to predicting desirable mean levels of later outcomes, early positive affect predicted beneficial changes across time in many outcomes.
Conclusions—The findings extend early research on the beneficial outcomes of subjective well-being by having an earlier assessment of well-being, including informant reports in measuring a large variety of outcome variables, and by extending the findings to a lower socioeconomic group of a diverse and younger sample. The results highlight the importance of considering positive affect as an important component of subjective well-being distinct from negative affect.
Attachment state of mind was investigated as a long-term predictor of romantic relationship competence. A secure early adolescent attachment state of mind was hypothesized to predict more constructive dyadic behaviors during conflict discussions and support seeking interactions in late adolescence and early adulthood. Utilizing multi-method data from a community sample of 184 individuals, followed from ages 14 to 21, adolescents with a secure attachment state of mind at age 14 were found to be in relationships that displayed more constructive dyadic conflict discussion behaviors and dyadic supportive behaviors at both ages 18 and 21. Results suggest substantial links between early adolescent attachment state of mind and the adult romantic relationship atmosphere an individual creates and experiences.
Neuroimaging studies using the social-exclusion paradigm Cyberball indicate increased dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and right insula activity as a function of exclusion. However, comparatively less work has been done on how social status factors may moderate this finding. This study used the Cyberball paradigm with 85 (45 females) socio-economically diverse participants from a larger longitudinal sample. We tested whether neighborhood quality during adolescence would predict subsequent neural responding to social exclusion in young adulthood. Given previous behavioral studies indicating greater social vigilance and negative evaluation as a function of lower status, we expected that lower adolescent neighborhood quality would predict greater dACC activity during exclusion at young adulthood. Our findings indicate that young adults who lived in low-quality neighborhoods in adolescence showed greater dACC activity to social exclusion than those who lived in higher quality neighborhoods. Lower neighborhood quality also predicted greater prefrontal activation in the superior frontal gyrus, dorsal medial prefrontal cortex and the middle frontal gyrus, possibly indicating greater regulatory effort. Finally, this effect was not driven by subsequent ratings of distress during exclusion. In sum, adolescent neighborhood quality appears to potentiate neural responses to social exclusion in young adulthood, effects that are independent of felt distress.
Objective—This multi-method, longitudinal study examines the negotiation of autonomy and relatedness between teens and their mothers as etiologic predictors of perpetration and victimization of dating aggression two years later.
Method—Observations of 88 mid-adolescents and their mothers discussing a topic of disagreement were coded for each individual’s demonstrations of autonomy and relatedness using a validated coding system. Adolescents self-reported on perpetration and victimization of physical and psychological dating aggression two years later. We hypothesized that mother’s and adolescents’ behaviors supporting autonomy and relatedness would longitudinally predict lower reporting of dating aggression, and that their behaviors inhibiting autonomy and relatedness would predict higher reporting of dating aggression.
Results—Hypotheses were not supported; main findings were characterized by interactions of sex and risk status with autonomy. Maternal behaviors supporting autonomy predicted higher reports of perpetration and victimization of physical dating aggression for girls, but not for boys. Adolescent behaviors supporting autonomy predicted higher reports of perpetration of physical dating aggression for high-risk adolescents, but not for low-risk adolescents.
Conclusions—Results indicate that autonomy is a dynamic developmental process, operating differently as a function of social contexts in predicting dating aggression. Examination of these and other developmental processes within parent-child relationships is important in predicting dating aggression, but may depend on social context.
Objective—Youths' ability to positively cope with negative emotions and their self-perceived friendship competence were examined as potential moderators of links between multiple aspects of romantic relationships and residualized increases in depressive symptoms from late adolescence into early adulthood.
Method—Participants included 184 teens (46% male; 42% non-white) assessed at ages 15-19 and 21, as well as a sub-sample of 62 romantic partners of participants assessed when teens were 18.
Results—Results of hierarchical linear regressions showed that positive coping served as a buffer against depressive symptoms for romantically involved adolescents and also for teens receiving more intense emotional support from their romantic partners, but not for youth whose relationship had ended and had not been replaced by a new relationship. Higher perceived friendship competence served as a buffer against depressive symptoms for youth enduring the dissolution and non-replacement of their romantic relationship.
Conclusions—Greater use of positive coping skills and higher perceived friendship competence may help protect adolescents from depressive symptoms in different types of romantic experiences.
The world of peers presents a unique developmental challenge to adolescents—one that is likely to be linked to prior experiences within the family, affected by concurrent experiences with adults outside the family, and predictive of future mental and physical health. To negotiate relationships with peers successfully, adolescents must manage the challenge of connecting with peers while establishing autonomy regarding peer influences. Both the nature of this challenge and how it is handled are linked closely to the ways adolescents are treated by the adults in their lives. Adolescents’ capacities for autonomy and connection can be developed both in the family and in interventions that engage youth with adults outside the family, suggesting a substantial role for adults in easing adolescents’ peer challenges.
This study assessed qualities of adolescent peer relationships as long-term predictors of physical health quality in adulthood. In an intensive multimethod, multireporter study of a community sample of 171 individuals assessed repeatedly from the ages of 13 to 27 years, physical health quality in adulthood was robustly predicted by independent reports of early-adolescent closefriendship quality and by a pattern of acquiescence to social norms in adolescent peer relationships. Predictions remained after accounting for numerous potential confounds, including prior health problems, concurrent body mass index, anxious and depressive symptoms, personality characteristics, adolescent-era financial adversity, and adolescent-era physical attractiveness. These findings have important implications for understanding the unique intensity of peer relationships in adolescence.
The long-term impacts of failing to establish autonomy and relatedness within close friendships are poorly understood. Adolescent behaviors undermining autonomy and relatedness in friendships at 13 were examined as predictors of friendship competence at 18 and depressive symptoms and social withdrawal at 21. A diverse community sample of 184 adolescents participated in self, peer, and observational assessments. Teens’ inability to establish autonomy and connection with friends at 13 predicted decreases in friendship competence at 18 (ß=-.20, p=. 02). Direct links to increases in depressive symptoms (ß=.34, p<.001) and social withdrawal (ß=. 18, p=.03) were observed, with friendship competence partially mediating these relations. Results highlight the importance of problematic adolescent peer relationships as risk factors for the development of young adult internalizing symptoms.
The ability to form and maintain relationships with friends and romantic partners is a major develop-mental task for adolescents. Disagreeable youth are likely to struggle with this task, yet little is knownabout how they maintain their oppositional style from adolescence to adulthood. The current studyexamines the long-term implications of disagreeableness in a diverse sample of 164 adolescents assessedrepeatedly across a 10-year period along with their friends and romantic partners. Disagreeableness atage 14 and 15 was assessed in observation with friends. Disagreeableness was then examined as a pre-dictor of both future relationship quality with friends at age 16 and romantic relationships at age 21. Theresults indicate that although disagreeable youth do not report any relationship struggles, both theirfriends and romantic partners see their relationships as being low in quality. Findings suggest a develop-mental process by which disagreeable adolescents maintain their oppositional style through a mecha-nism of relationship blindness, as they simply are unable to see the relationship issues that theirfriends and partners clearly perceive.
This study used a longitudinal, multi-method design to examine whether teens’ perceptions of maternal psychological control predicted lower levels of adolescent autonomy displayed with their mothers and peers over time. Significant predictions from teens’ perceptions of maternal psychological control to teens’ displays of autonomy in maternal and peer relationships were found at age 16 after accounting for adolescent displays of autonomy with mothers and peers at age 13, indicating relative changes in teens’ autonomy displayed with their mother and a close peer over time. Results suggest that the ability to assert one’s autonomy in mid-adolescence may be influenced by maternal behavior early in adolescence, highlighting the importance of parents minimizing psychological control to facilitate autonomy development for teens.
We tested a developmental cascade model of autonomy and relatedness in the progression from parent to friend to romantic relationships across ages 13, 18, and 21. Participants included 184 adolescents (53% female, 58% Caucasian, 29% African American) recruited from a public middle school in Virginia. Parental psychological control at age 13 undermined the development of autonomy and relatedness, predicting relative decreases in autonomy and relatedness with friends between ages 13 and 18 and lower levels of autonomy and relatedness with partners at age 18. These cascade effects extended into adult friendships and romantic relationships, with autonomy and relatedness with romantic partners at age 18 being a strong predictor of autonomy and relatedness with both friends and partners at age 21.
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.