Friendship and risk for internalizing behavior: understanding the selection and socialization of maladaptive behavior

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica A. Moore (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan P. Keane

Abstract: The present study sought to examine the role of friendship in the link between early individual risk and subsequent internalizing behavior. A model indicating friendship characteristics as mediating mechanisms between early individual risk and subsequent internalizing behavioral outcomes was tested using a longitudinal sample of children between the ages of 5 and 10.5 years. Two social behaviors were examined as early (5 year) individual risk factors for subsequent internalizing problems: early withdrawal and aggression. Characteristics for withdrawn and socially skilled behaviors in 2nd grade friends were targeted as mediators in the relation between early risk and subsequent internalizing problems. Finally, gender was examined as a potential moderator for specific mediation pathways. Support for the overall meditational model was not obtained; however, results supported gender as a moderator for boys' withdrawn behaviors and internalizing outcomes, highlighting the importance of gender roles in development. Additionally, findings highlighted several future research goals. The presented work provides a preliminary step in understanding the impact of children's friends on risk for internalizing behaviors. Ultimately, these results may shed light on unanswered questions that may help inform social intervention for children at risk for anxiety and depression.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Anxiety, Depression, Friendship, Internalizing, Middle Childhood
Friendship in children $x Psychological aspects
Social skills in children $x Psychological aspects
Interpersonal relations in children $x Psychological aspects
Psychology, Pathological

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