The Origins and Consequences of Jealousy Over Friends in Early Adolescence

Project: Research project

Project Details


Participation in smooth-functioning and sustained friendships is an important requirement for healthy adjustment and development in late childhood and early adolescence. Conversely, friendship difficulties can compromise development and can be the source of considerable conflict and aggression in school settings. Thus, understanding the nature and source of friendship difficulties is an important applied and theoretical goal. The broad goal of this work is to expand understanding of the nature of friendship experiences at the transition to adolescence by exploring the jealousy sometimes associated with outside interference in friendship. Past research demonstrates that some individual children show strong jealous reactions when their friends have other friends or engage in activities with other peers. These children report depression and more negative personal well-being than other children, and appear to behave negatively and aggressively towards others. This work will extend understanding of the nature, antecedences, and consequences of this important vulnerability. Specifically, the first goal of the work is to examine how the behavior of characteristically jealous children differs from that of their non-jealous peers and to articulate the emotions, attributions, and behavioral strategies these individuals endorse in jealous circumstances. A second objective is to examine whether the tendency to act jealous over friends is associated with broader indices of problematic social adjustment, including peer rejection and victimization. The final objective is to extend understanding of the psychological roots of friendship jealousy by exploring how specific family processes may compromise the self-images of children and contribute to these children's hyper-vigilance around peers and sensitivity to outsider interference.

Effective start/end date7/15/0512/31/10


  • National Science Foundation: $400,000.00


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