The Mediational Role of Adolescents' Friends in Relations Between Activity Breadth and Adjustment

Sandra D. Simpkins, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Jennifer N. Becnel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


This investigation addresses the mediational role of friends' characteristics between adolescents' activity breadth (i.e., variety in activity participation) and their later adjustment. Data were drawn from 2 longitudinal studies: the Childhood and Beyond (CAB; N = 925) study and the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study (MADICS; N = 1,338). Adolescents at Time 2 in each study (8th, 9th, and 11th graders in CAB and 8th graders in MADICS) reported on the breadth of their participation across 5 activity settings: sports, religious, volunteering, community, and school. Friends' characteristics and adolescent adjustment were reported by adolescents at Times 1 and 3. Friends' positive characteristics significantly mediated relations between activity breadth and adolescent depressive affect, self-worth, alcohol use, and problem behavior in both studies. Friends' negative characteristics significantly mediated these relations in CAB, but not in MADICS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1094
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • adjustment
  • adolescence
  • friendships
  • out-of-school activities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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