Peer relations, friendships, and romantic relationships: Implications for the development and maintenance of depression in adolescents

Annette M. La Greca, Joanne Davila, Rebecca Siegel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Scopus citations


Adolescence is a critical period in development, marked by an expansion of peer networks, increased importance of close friendships, and the emergence of romantic relationships. As adolescents transition from middle school to high school, the size and diversity of their peer networks increase and peer crowd affiliation becomes important (La Greca & Prinstein, 1999). During adolescence, close friends surpass parents as the primary source of social support, and contribute to adolescents' self-concept and well-being (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992; Furman, McDunn, & Young, see Chapter 16, this volume). Moreover, dating relationships emerge and become increasingly important. By age 16, most adolescents have had a romantic relationship (Carver et al., 2003). Such relationships may have mental health benefits, including the provision of social support, the enhancement of self-esteem, preparation for adult relationships, and the development of intimacy (Collins, 2003; Connolly & Goldberg, 1999). Although peer relations, friendships, and romantic relationships may be beneficial to adolescents' social and emotional functioning, they also can represent significant stressors. Romantic relationships explain 25–34% of the strong emotions that high-school students experience, and about 42% of these strong emotions are negative feelings, such as anxiety, anger, jealousy, and depression (Larson et al., 1999). The presence of a romantic relationship is associated with feelings of depression, especially among girls (Davila et al., 2004). This chapter reviews the literature on adolescents' peer relations, close friendships, and romantic relationships in order to understand their implications for the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms and disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdolescent Emotional Development and the Emergence of Depressive Disorders
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780511551963
ISBN (Print)9780521869393
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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