The article by Marion, Laursen, Zettergren, and Bergman (2013) reflects the impact of past peer relationships on adulthood. The research includes the examination of the mentioned issue in a long-term perspective focusing on a buffered-effects model and a direct-effects model. In particular, the authors state that adult life satisfaction directly depends on both prior adolescent friendship and peer rejection.
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Friendship might influence by longitudinal associations based on the sense of security (Marion et al., 2013). This ensures emotional well-being in adulthood. Friendship raises emotional, romantic, and public relationships. Friends also might mitigate adverse social experiences providing the support that, in turn, promotes self-confidence in adults. It is also very important to point out the fact that peer friendship contributes to adequate relationships with the family and partners. However, friendship is not always beneficial. For example, rejected young people might make friends with other rejected ones creating a team of negatively disposed adolescents (Marion et al., 2013). Although even this form of friendship will, probably, lead to life satisfaction, it will also cause antisocial behaviors.
For adolescents, it is especially important to become a part of a group or a company achieving group members’ respect. Young people seek recognition of the group adapting to it and participating in various activities. In the case they fail to join the group, one might observe a process of peer rejection. In turn, peer rejection that refers to the level of like or dislike of the group of peers might lead to a range of negative consequences including “unhappiness, loneliness, and depression up to 6 years later” (Marion et al., 2013. p. 1300).
Depressive symptoms were observed in the majority of cases under discussion. In effect, it causes diminished global life satisfaction in middle adulthood (Marion et al., 2013). Adults who experienced peer rejection in adolescence might feel a sense of loneliness because it is difficult for them to establish contacts with others due to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, distrust, or skeptical attitude towards people’s capabilities in various situations.
As for me, my friends helped me to overcome several difficulties such as class rejection, for example. They saved me from loneliness and victimization as well as from other problems. Therefore, I am grateful to them and feel a strong confidence in the fact that I can communicate with people effectively, especially in an unfriendly environment. In other words, attitudes developed in adolescence tend to accumulate over time.
It is impossible to consider people in middle adulthood without taking into account the role of their relationships with peers in assessing the development and formation of their personality. Developmental psychologists should thoroughly study the background information so that they can predict the development of a person in the future. Bukowski, Burhmester, and Underwood (2011) believe that these relationships are crucial both in positive and in negative senses.
This factor can facilitate the successful socialization of the person, yet it may push him or her to antisocial behavior as well. According to Gustafsson, Janlert, Theorell, Westerlund, and Hammarstrom (2012), “the degree of peer problems in adolescence, as assessed by form teachers, is related to a higher risk of the metabolic syndrome in middle age” (p. 6). Knowing the above fact, the development psychologists will be able to suggest appropriate measures trying to mitigate the consequences of disadvantageous peer relationships.
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Bukowski, W. M., Burhmester, D., & Underwood, M. K. (2011). Peer relations as a developmental context. In M. K. Underwood & L. H. Rosen (Eds.), Social development: Relationships in infancy, childhood, and adolescence (pp. 153–179). New York: Guilford Press.
Gustafsson, P. E., Janlert, U., Theorell, T., Westerlund, H., & Hammarstrom, A. (2012). Do peer relations in adolescence influence health in adulthood? Peer problems in the school setting and the metabolic syndrome in middle-age. PLoS One, 7(6).
Marion, D., Laursen, B., Zettergren, P., & Bergman, L. R. (2013). Predicting life satisfaction during middle adulthood from peer relationships during mid-adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(8), 1299-1307.