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Childhood Relationships & Adolescent Mental Health

The research article by Shin, Cho, Shin, & Park (2016) aimed to analyze the relationship between adolescent psychological adjustment and early peer relationships. This topic is important to consider because the way in which children socialize at the early stages of their development influences their future behaviors. Peer relationships encompass a range of affiliations and become stronger more salient in adolescence. The transition from childhood to adolescents leads to the change in social and individual contexts as well as in regards to social norms. In addition, as children grow up, the relationships between them become more complex, especially in regards to the emergence of romantic relationships.

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The article by Shin et al. (2016) applies to the assigned readings as it traces connections between peer relationships in childhood and adolescence. It was found that children who had high-quality peer relations were more likely to build positive connections with peers when they reach 13-15 years of age. In addition, qualitative peer relationships were shown to be more important compared with quantitative in predicting future issues with adjustment with peers and the development of connections between them. Researchers recommend that parents, teachers, and educators monitor the social interactions of children to prevent adverse outcomes in the future.

In addition, the article aligns with the chapter by Brown and Larson (2009) as it suggested that the quality of relationships plays a more important role. For example, status and prestige as a component of adolescent peer relationships form in childhood. Hierarchies develop within the peer system, suggesting that some individuals have more power compared to others in the same way in which some young people are considered more likable than others.

The relationship between adolescence and media is an issue to consider when discussing their development in society. According to Roberts, Henriksen, and Foehr (2009), media can have an adverse effect on adolescents, with rates of media use and exposure increasing each year. It was found that media use can lead to rising rates of violence and aggression, encourage various sexual behaviors, affect body image and self-perception, as well as lead to the increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs. The research by Kelly, Zilanawala, Booker, and Sacker (2018) suggested that media (specifically social media) was associated with mental health complications. Such include depression, anxiety, and negative self-image.

In addition, the scholars concluded that online harassment represents significant challenges to adolescents (Kelly et al., 2018). The more verbal abuse adolescents experience online, the more likely they are to develop low self-esteem and experience depressive symptoms. Acknowledging a cyclical connection “between social media use and mental health could be at play, whereby young people experiencing poor mental health might be more likely to use social media for extended periods of time” (Kelly et al., 2019, p. 1). Therefore, despite the range of positive influences of social media, such as socialization and the sharing of information, adolescents are challenged by the growing number of negative influences. When discussing the development of adolescents, considering the impact of social media is paramount for increasing their psychological well-being and independence in adulthood. Conducting regular assessments of adolescents’ media use can be instrumental in preventing adverse mental outcomes. However, it is imperative not to forbid adolescents to use social media because they are essential to socialization despite the variety of negative effects.


Brown, B., & Larson, J. (2009). Peer relationships in adolescence. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 74-103). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Kelly, Y., Zilanawala, A., Booker, C., & Sacker, A. (2019). Social media use and adolescent mental health: Findings from the UK millennium cohort study. E Clinical Medicine, 6, 59-68.

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Roberts, D., Henriksen, L., & Foehr, U. (2009). Adolescence, adolescents, and media. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 314-344). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Shin, K. M., Cho, S. M., Shin, Y. M., & Park, K. S. (2016). Effects of early childhood peer relationships on adolescent mental health: A 6- to 8-year follow-up study in South Korea. Psychiatry investigation, 13(4), 383-388. Web.

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