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 journalArticlepeer-review

48 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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