Friends Also Matter: Examining Friendship Adjustment Indices as Moderators of Anxious-Withdrawal and Trajectories of Change in Psychological Maladjustment

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Abstract

The present study evaluated whether 3 indices of friendship adjustment (mutual friendship involvement, friendship stability, friendship quality) are important, but overlooked, moderators of the impact of anxious-withdrawal on trajectories of psychological maladjustment during early adolescence. Participants included 271 young adolescents (51% boys; Mage = 11.83 years; 42% ethnic minority) who completed peer nomination and self-report measures at 3 waves in a longitudinal study. In line with hypotheses, growth curve analyses revealed that anxious-withdrawal predicted less negative psychological adjustment trajectories for friended young adolescents, albeit somewhat differently for boys and girls. Understanding the unique significance of friendships in the lives of anxious-withdrawn young adolescents could improve interventions as their friendships may be more successfully targeted than their group-level peer difficulties.

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