What is the role of families into the youth friendships?

#Friendships during adolescence have huge both positive and negative impacts on teenagers lives. For example, having supportive friendships is the main indicator of individuals’ well-being throughout the course of life.

During #adolescence, friendships can fulfil teenager's need for intimacy or personal validation as well as can contribute to adolescents’ social, emotional, and cognitive development. Adolescence is characterized by transitions, which can create uncertainty, anxiety, distress and potentially impact adolescents’ strivings for peer acceptance, intimacy, and a clear sense of identity.


Teenagers with more friends have shown to be more socially competent and psychologically healthy. However, the quality of the friendships is of high importance into the youth's #wellbeing. For example, teenagers with poor quality friendships are more likely to have internalizing and externalizing problems as well as poorer academic performance. In addition, those who lack supportive friendships are likely to have more depressive symptoms and overall maladjustment in adulthood.

Social attitudes and skills developed due to family relationships may influence the degree to which youth approach or avoid subsequent social relationships. Therefore, family ties are an important aspect of social anxiety. Low levels of affection by parents, neglection, physical or verbal hostility, parental rejection or other behaviours that leave youth feeling unloved, are associated with the development of social anxiety in children or teenagers. Furthermore, these behaviours can affect a youth’s mental representations about life, interpersonal relationships, and human existence. They view interpersonal relationships as untrustworthy, unsafe, hostile, and threatening.


Usually, depression, substance abuse, and behavioural problems are found on children who have been faced with parental rejection. These teenagers may become hypervigilant and hypersensitive to rejection in other social relationships.


Youth with unstable or rejecting family relationships are more likely to develop insecure attachment style and are more likely to avoid social relationships or endure them with distress and fear. Whereas, infants with ambivalent attachment during the first year of life have more social anxiety symptoms at age 11 and are more likely to develop anxiety disorders at age 17.


Therefore, the quality of family relationships has significant implications for youth’s friendships. Different aspects of parenting and parent-adolescent relationship are associated with the development of youth social anxiety which is a significant barrier in youth social adjustment.

Source: The Role of Family for Youth Friendships: Examining a Social Anxiety Mechanism
Mak et al. 2018
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