Preadolescent friendship and peer rejection as predictors of adult adjustment

Child Dev. 1998 Feb;69(1):140-53.


Although peer-rejected children appear to be at risk for later difficulties, the contribution of preadolescent friendship to adaptive adjustment lacks an empirical foundation. In this 12 year follow-up investigation, 30 young adults who had a stable, reciprocal best friend in fifth grade and 30 who had been chumless completed measures of adjustment in multiple domains. Friendship and peer rejection were found to have unique implications for adaptive development. Lower levels of preadolescent peer rejection uniquely predicted overall life status adjustment, whereas friended preadolescents had higher levels of general self-worth in adulthood even after controlling for perceived competence in preadolescence. In contrast, peer rejection and the absence of friendship were both associated with psychopathological symptoms in adulthood, although neither was uniquely predictive of symptomatology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychology, Child
  • Rejection, Psychology*
  • Social Adjustment*