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Dev Psychol. 2010 Jan;46(1):46-56. doi: 10.1037/a0017420.

Adolescent peer relationships and behavior problems predict young adults' communication on social networking websites.

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Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400, USA.


This study examined 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. 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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