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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.