Similarity in depressive symptoms in adolescents' friendship dyads: selection or socialization?Dev Psychol. 2011 Nov; 47(6):1804-14.DP
This study examined friendship selection and socialization as mechanisms explaining similarity in depressive symptoms in adolescent same-gender best friend dyads. The sample consisted of 1,752 adolescents (51% male) ages 12-16 years (M = 13.77, SD = 0.73) forming 487 friend dyads and 389 nonfriend dyads (the nonfriend dyads served as a comparison group). To test our hypothesis, we applied a multigroup actor-partner interdependence model to 3 friendship types that started and ended at different time points during the 2 waves of data collection. Results showed that adolescents reported levels of depressive symptoms at follow-up that were similar to those of their best friends. Socialization processes explained the increase in similarity exclusively in female dyads, whereas no evidence for friendship selection emerged for either male or female dyads. Additional analyses revealed that similarity between friends was particularly evident in the actual best friend dyads (i.e., true best friends), in which evidence for socialization processes emerged for both female and male friend dyads. Findings highlight the importance of examining friendship relations as a potential context for the development of depressive symptoms.