Interplay of social anxiety, self-esteem contingency, and parental psychological control in early adolescents' friendship jealousy

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University of Alabama Libraries

Friendships provide children and adolescents with support and various developmental opportunities. Research suggests that some individuals have atypically high jealousy over friends. Unwarranted jealousy may decrease the quality of friendships, forfeiting positive developmental opportunities, as well as leading to internalizing and externalizing problems. Nevertheless, little is known about the etiology of vulnerability to friendship jealousy. The purpose of the present study was to examine potential predictors of high friendship jealousy in early adolescents. It was hypothesized that friendship contingent self-esteem and social anxiety would predict friendship jealousy. It was also hypothesized that maternal psychological control would predict friendship jealousy. Lastly, it was expected that contingent self-esteem and social anxiety would mediate the association between psychological control and jealousy. The results showed that young adolescents whose self-esteem highly depended on success in friendship and those who had high social anxiety tended to have higher jealousy, as expected. Interestingly, the association between social anxiety and jealousy was more salient in girls than in boys. The results also showed that early adolescents who perceived that their mothers relied heavily on psychologically controlling parental practices tended to report higher jealousy, supporting the hypothesis. Mediation tests revealed that although contingent self-esteem and social anxiety partially explained the link between maternal psychological control and jealousy, psychological control predicted jealousy directly as well. This is the first finding that demonstrates the effects of early experiences on friendship jealousy. Implications of the results and future research suggestions are discussed.

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