Constellations of family closeness and adolescent friendship quality

Mengya Xia, Gregory M. Fosco, Bethany C. Bray, John H. Grych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aims to investigate the association between family relationship constellations and adolescent friendship quality in a more holistic way and disentangle gender differences on their associations. Background: Family relationships are important for adolescent friendship, but little is known about how mother–adolescent and father–adolescent relationships work in the context of each other. Method: Latent profile analysis was conducted in a sample of 326 ethnically diverse high schoolers (ages: 14–19 years; 60.4% female) to identify different combinations of mother– and father–adolescent closeness and their associations with friendships for adolescent boys and girls. Results: Findings revealed five family relationship patterns: Cohesive (22%; high closeness with both parents), Alliance With Mother (9%; high mother–adolescent closeness only), Alliance With Father (10%; high father–adolescent closeness only), Disengaged (22%; low closeness with both parents), and Average (36%; average closeness with both parents) profiles. Adolescents in Cohesive families had high conflict resolution, and adolescents in alliance families had high companionship, whereas adolescents in Disengaged and Average families had the worst friendships. Adolescent boys in Disengaged families had the poorest friendships in all four domains when compared to adolescent girls in Disengaged families and adolescent boys in other family types; mother–adolescent closeness was important for adolescent boys' validation and intimate exchange. Adolescent girls' friendship quality generally was highest in Cohesive families. Conclusion: Findings highlight the importance of simultaneously accounting for relationships with both parents from the family systems perspective. Implications: Being close to at least one parent is critical for adolescent social–emotional and friendship development, and this is especially important for adolescent boys' friendship quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamily Relations
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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