Emotional Closeness in Mexican-Origin Adolescents’ Relationships with Mothers, Fathers, and Same-Sex Friends

Sue A. Rodríguez, Norma J. Perez-Brena, Kimberly Updegraff, Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Research on the associations between parent–adolescent relationships and friendships among Latinos is limited. Drawing on developmental and ecological perspectives, we examined bidirectional associations between parental warmth and friendship intimacy with same-sex peers from early to late adolescence using a longitudinal cross-lag panel design. Parent–adolescent immigration status and adolescent gender were examined as moderators of these associations. Home interviews were conducted with 246 Mexican American adolescents (51 % female) when they were in early (M = 12.55; SD = .60 years), middle (M = 14.64; SD = .59 years), and late adolescence (M = 17.67; SD = .57 years). Modest declines in paternal warmth were evident from early to late adolescence, but maternal warmth was high and stable across this time period. Girls’ intimacy with same-sex friends also was high and stable from early to late adolescence, but boys’ intimacy with same-sex friends increased over this time period. In general, findings revealed that adolescents’ perceptions of parents’ warmth in early adolescence were associated positively with friendship intimacy in middle adolescence, and friendship intimacy in middle adolescence was associated positively with parental warmth in late adolescence. Some associations were moderated by adolescent gender and parent–adolescent immigration status. For example, there was an association from maternal warmth in early adolescence to friendship intimacy in late adolescence only for immigrant youth. These findings suggest that among Mexican American adolescents, their relationships with their mothers, fathers, and same-sex friends are intertwined closely and that gender and immigration status shape some of these associations during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1953-1968
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Friendship
  • Gender
  • Mexican American
  • Parent–adolescent relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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