Friendship characteristics, psychosocial development, and adolescent identity formation


  • Randall M. Jones, John M. Vaterlaus, Mark A. Jackson, and Torrey B. Morrill, Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development, Utah State University.


Young adults (n = 702; 18–23 years old) completed measures of psychosocial development, identity status, and friendship. Friendship conflict and support were related with psychosocial development, and with the identity statuses. As per Erikson's prescription, early psychosocial stages were relevant to the identity statuses. After statistically controlling for the predictive variability contributed by trust, autonomy, initiative, and industry with the identity status measures, conflict and support within friendships contributed predictive variability to identity achievement (3.2%), moratorium (2.4%), and diffusion (2.5%), but neither conflict nor support within friendships was related to foreclosure scores. Conflict within friendships was positively related with moratorium and diffusion, and support within friendships was negatively related with diffusion.