Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teens' struggles with peers forecast long-term adult relationships

Date:
March 28, 2013
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
Teens' struggles to connect with their peers in early adolescence while not succumbing to negative peer influences predict their capacity to form strong friendships and avoid serious problems. In a longitudinal study, researchers followed 150 teens over a 10-year period to learn about the lasting effects of peer struggles in early adolescence. They found establishing social competence in early adolescence involves negotiating conflicting goals between peer acceptance and autonomy with regard to negative peer influences.

Teenagers' struggles to connect with their peers in the early adolescent years while not getting swept along by negative peer influences predict their capacity to form strong friendships and avoid serious problems even ten years later. Those are the conclusions of a new longitudinal study by researchers at the University of Virginia that appears in the journal Child Development.

Related Articles


"Overall, we found that teens face a high-wire act with their peers," explains Joseph P. Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia, who led the study. "They need to establish strong, positive connections with them while at the same time establishing independence in resisting deviant peer influences. Those who don't manage this have significant problems as much as a decade later."

Researchers followed about 150 teens over a 10-year period (starting at age 13 and continuing to 23) to learn about the long-term effects of their peer struggles early in adolescence. They gathered information from multiple sources -- the teens themselves, their parents and peers, and by observing teens' later interactions with romantic partners. The teens comprised a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse group.

Teens who had trouble connecting well with their peers in early adolescence had difficulty establishing close friendships in young adulthood. Teens who didn't connect well at 13 also had more difficulty managing disagreements in romantic relationships as adults.

Teens who had trouble establishing some autonomy and independence with peers (especially with respect to minor forms of deviance such as shoplifting and vandalism) were found to be at higher risk for problems with alcohol and substance use, and for illegal behavior, almost a decade later.

Conversely, teens who were seen as desirable companions -- those deemed empathetic, able to see things from different perspectives and control their impulses, and having a good sense of humor -- were more likely to have positive relationships in young adulthood.

Teens who were able to establish some autonomy vis a vis peers' influences were more likely to avoid problematic behavior in young adulthood, with teens who showed they were able to think for themselves in the face of negative peer influences using less alcohol as early adults and having fewer problems with alcohol and substance abuse as young adults. But teens who were seen as desirable companions were more likely to have higher levels of alcohol use in early adulthood and future problems associated with alcohol and substance use.

"The findings make it clear that establishing social competence in adolescence and early adulthood is not a straightforward process, but involves negotiating challenging and at times conflicting goals between peer acceptance and autonomy with regard to negative peer influences," Allen notes.

"Teaching teens how to stand up for themselves in ways that preserve and deepen relationships -- to become their own persons while still connecting to others -- is a core task of social development that parents, teachers, and others can all work to promote," adds Allen.

Teens who managed both of these goals simultaneously -- connecting with peers while retaining their autonomy -- were rated by their parents as being most competent overall by age 23. "There is a positive pathway through the peer jungle of early adolescence," says Allen, "but it is a tricky one for many teens to find and traverse."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joseph P. Allen, Joanna Chango, David Szwedo. The Adolescent Relational Dialectic and the Peer Roots of Adult Social Functioning. Child Development, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12106

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Teens' struggles with peers forecast long-term adult relationships." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130328080223.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2013, March 28). Teens' struggles with peers forecast long-term adult relationships. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130328080223.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Teens' struggles with peers forecast long-term adult relationships." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130328080223.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins