A two-year longitudinal investigation examined adolescents’ (N = 100 girls and 99 boys) perceptions of social support in relationships with mothers, close friends, and romantic partners from Grade 10 (ages 14–16) to Grade 12 (ages 16–18). Adolescents, mothers, and close friends also provided descriptions of the participants’ global self-worth and interpersonal competence. Variable-centered and person-centered analyses revealed that perceived social support tends to be similar across relationships and stable over time. Variable-centered analyses indicated that social support in mother-adolescent relationships was uniquely related to adolescent global self-worth; that social support in close friendships was uniquely related to social acceptance, friendship competence, and romantic competence; and that social support in romantic relationships was uniquely related to romantic competence. Person-centered analyses indicated that adolescents who reported high social support in all three relationships had higher selfworth and greater interpersonal competence than those who did not have a romantic relationship and who reported low social support in relationships with mothers and close friends; and that scores for adolescents who had a romantic relationship but who reported low social support in all three relationships fell in between these two groups. Taken together, variable-centered analyses suggest that different relationships influence different dimensions of competence, but person- centered analyses indicate that a sizable proportion of adolescents have relationships that act in concert with one another.
Laursen, Brett; Furman, Wyndol; and Mooney, Karen S.
"Predicting Interpersonal Competence
and Self-Worth From Adolescent Relationships
and Relationship Networks: Variable-Centered
and Person-Centered Perspectives,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 52
, Article 9.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol52/iss3/9