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Research: Adolescent Peer Relationships and Behavior Problems Predict Young Adults’ Communication on Social Networking Websites

Social.montage In this University of Virginia study (Mikami, Szwedo, Allen, Evans, and Hare, 2009) examine online communication on social networking web pages in a longitudinal sample of 92 youths (39 male, 53 female). Participants’ social and behavioral adjustment was assessed when they were ages 13–14 years and again at ages 20 –22 years.

At ages 20 –22 years, participants’ social networking website use and indicators of friendship quality on their web pages were coded by observers. Results suggested that youths who had been better adjusted at ages 13–14 years were more likely to be using social networking web pages at ages 20 –22 years, after statistically controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and parental income. Young Adults Communication on Social Networking Websites

Overall, youths’ patterns of peer relationships, friendship quality, and behavioral adjustment at ages 13–14 years and at ages 20 –22 years predicted similar qualities of interaction and problem behavior on their social networking websites at ages 20 –22 years.

Findings are consistent with developmental theory asserting that youths display cross-situational continuity in their social behaviors and suggest that the conceptualization of continuity may be extended into the online domain.

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