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Early Adolescent Relationship Predictors of Emerging Adult Outcomes: Youth With and Without Type 1 Diabetes.

journal contribution
posted on 01.11.2013 by Vicki Helgeson, Dianne K. Palladino, Kerry A. Reynolds, Dorothy Becker, Oscar Escobar, Linda Siminerio

BACKGROUND: Emerging adulthood is a high-risk period for mental health problems and risk behaviors for youth generally and for physical health problems among those with type 1 diabetes.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine whether adolescents' relationships with parents and friends predict health and risk behaviors during emerging adulthood.

METHOD: Youth with and without diabetes were enrolled at average age 12 and followed for 7 years. Parent and friend relationship variables, measured during adolescence, were used to predict emerging adulthood outcomes: depression, risk behavior, and, for those with diabetes, diabetes outcomes.

RESULTS: Parent relationship quality predicted decreased depressive symptoms and, for those with diabetes, decreased alcohol use. Parent control predicted increased smoking, reduced college attendance, and, for control participants, increased depressive symptoms. For those with diabetes, parent control predicted decreased depressive symptoms and better self-care. Friend relationship variables predicted few outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent parent relationships remain an important influence on emerging adults' lives.