Adolescent Friendship Stability

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2023

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Abstract

Adolescence is a key point in the life course, and friendships during this time are strong predictors of health and behavioral outcomes. This dissertation seeks to understand the causes and consequences of friendship stability, answering the question: Friendships during adolescence are important, but does it matter how long they last? Chapter Two introduces a new measure of friendship stability and tests possible pathways by which it affects extreme outcomes, threatening oneself or others. The findings indicate that some of these mechanisms partially explain this relationship, but low network instability remains strongly associated with the outcomes.Chapter Three examines the possible causes of friendship dissolution, as adolescents are more likely to dissolve the more unstable their networks. This chapter simultaneously tests individual, dyadic, and structural predictors of dissolution. The findings suggest that ego’s perception of intimacy, as well as the structural and dyadic features of the relationship, are the most prominent predictors of dissolution. Additionally, the results suggest differing relationships between several structural and dyadic features when considering whether friendship is reciprocated. Chapter four examines the relationship between racial peer mixing and mental health. I tested the effect of having cross-race ties on mental health, conditional on individuals being a racial minority in their school population. I also test whether two contextual factors of egos friendships, intimacy, and stability–mediate this relationship. I found that when adolescents are minorities in their schools, cross-race friendships somewhat protect them from emotional distress, and that this relationship is minimally mediated by friendship intimacy.

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Tucker, Liann (2023). Adolescent Friendship Stability. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27758.

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