Best friends forever?: High school best friendships and the transition to college

Personal Relationships (Impact Factor: 1.41). 05/2003; 10(2):187 - 196. DOI: 10.1111/1475-6811.00045


The transition from high school to college is an important phase for adolescents in social as well as academic aspects. This study examined the changes that occur in high school best friendships during the first year of college. Results revealed that during the first year in college high school best friendships declined in satisfaction, commitment, rewards, and investments. During this period there was also an increase in costs and alternatives to best friend relationships. Proximity did not influence the friendships; however, level of communication did moderate friendship deterioration. Furthermore, individuals who continued their best friendship reported engaging in more maintenance behaviors of positivity, supportiveness, self-disclosure, and interaction than individuals who reported a change in the relationship to close or casual friendship. Maintaining the best friendship also appeared to buffer adolescents from social loneliness. The results are discussed in terms of the implications of transitions on adolescent friendships.

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Available from: Debra L. Oswald, Jan 07, 2015
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    • "Retrospective studies of this kind risk overlooking some changes. Second, previous longitudinal work has focused on a relatively small number of strong ties (Oswald and Clark 2003; Wellman et al. 1997), yet weak ties also have a tendency to decay (Burt 2000; Milardo and Wellman 1992). Moreover, decay has typically been studied simply in terms of whether ties are named in the network at successive time periods (Burt 2000; Morgan et al. 1997). "
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    • "While family typically provides the primary source of support for young people even into adulthood (see Parker, L€ udtke, Trautwein, & Roberts, 2012), friendship groups become increasingly important during adolescence (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992; Oswald & Clark, 2003; Selfhout et al., 2010). A lack of friends is associated with depression and other mental health problems (Kiuru, 2008; Schaefer, Kornienko, & Fox, 2011). "
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