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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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178. Adolescent Anxiety Symptoms and Disruptions in Friendship Quality: A Meta-Analytic Review

A large body of literature supports an association between adolescent anxiety and friendship quality. However, questions remain about the strength and directionality of this relationship, which have yet to be assessed in a quantitative review. We examined both concurrent and prospective associations between positive and negative friendship quality and anxiety in adolescence. This meta-analysis features k= 76 studies (of which 22% were unpublished) and N= 43,387 participants. Using random effects modeling with cluster-robust variance estimation methods, we found small associations between anxiety and both positive friendship quality (k= 64; r= -.14) and negative friendship quality (k= 12; r= .17) cross-sectionally. Additionally, analyses revealed significant modest ESs for positive (k= 12; r= -.06) and negative friendship quality (k= 3; r= .05) predicting adolescent anxiety, and marginally significant effects for anxiety predicting positive (k= 22; r= -.06) and negative (k= 5; r= .07) friendship quality. We found evidence for several moderators, such as stronger effects when studies were reporting on social anxiety vs. non-social anxiety-related symptoms. This review evaluates the existing literature on associations between anxiety and friendship quality in adolescence, finding small but meaningful associations and highlights current gaps in the literature.

Meghan Huang
University of Rochester

Lisa Starr
University of Rochester


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