Longitudinal Relations Between Emotion Regulation and Friendship Quality: A Matter of Type and Time
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Supportive and close friendships can foster the development of emotional competence in adolescents (von Salisch & Zeman, 2015). In turn, higher emotional competence in adolescents is associated with more friends and stabler close friendships (Schwartz-Mette & Rose, 2016; Van Zalk et al., 2010). However, little research has examined the specific relations between adolescent sadness and anger regulation and friendship quality over time. Guided by the functionalist perspective of emotion (Barrett & Campos, 1994), the present study investigated the longitudinal bidirectional relations between sadness and anger regulation and friendship quality over four years in adolescence as a function of adolescent sex. A secondary aim examined the stability of emotion regulation and friendship quality throughout adolescence. Participants at Time 1 (T1) were 209 adolescents (Mage = 12.66 years, SD = 1; 51.7% girls; 77% White) with 169 of these adolescents (Mage = 14.70 years) participating at Time 2 (T2), and 132 adolescents (Mage = 16.43) participating at Time 3 (T3). At each time point, adolescents completed the Children’s Sadness and Anger Management Scales (Zeman et al., 2001) and the Friendship Quality Questionnaire (Parker & Asher, 1993). Traditional cross-lagged panel models were conducted in Mplus to examine bidirectional relations, and repeated-measures ANOVAs in SPSS examined change in constructs over time. Higher friendship quality at T2 predicted higher T3 sadness regulation coping for girls only and higher T3 sadness inhibition for both boys and girls. Higher T2 friendship quality predicted higher T3 anger regulation coping for girls only and lower T3 anger inhibition for boys only. We did not find any bidirectional relations between emotion regulation and friendship quality. These findings highlight middle adolescence as a critical time when close friendships are influential to the refinement of emotion regulation skills in adolescents. Regarding hypotheses on stability, sadness regulation coping increased from T1 to T2 in boys and decreased from T2 to T3 in girls. For both sexes, anger regulation coping increased from T1 to T2 and maintained stably high from T2 to T3. No significant changes over time in sadness and anger inhibition emerged. Overall, our study provided important information on the development of emotion regulation and friendship quality throughout adolescence.
Li, Rachel, "Longitudinal Relations Between Emotion Regulation and Friendship Quality: A Matter of Type and Time" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1945.
On-Campus Access Only