Your best friend as a teenager can determine how healthy you are as an adult

A new study suggests that high-quality friendships leads to better physical health

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 02 September 2015 00:36 BST
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(Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

You may have more to thank your teenage best friend for than you realise.

A study has linked good quality adolescent friendships to a healthy adult life.

Published in Psychological Science, it concluded that physical health in adults can be based upon “the quality of close friendships in adolescence”.

Additionally, despite teenagers often being warned of the perils of peer pressure, the report suggests “conforming to peer norms” in adolescence is also linked to better health.

A group of 171 students were observed in the study, their self-nominated best friends then filled out questionnaires about the friendship at several times between the ages of 13 to 17.

The participant’s health was measured at ages 25, 26 and 27, as well as general health, anxiety, depression and BMI were among other factors to be measured.

Results determined that both good quality friendships and a desire to fit in with peers during the teenage years were associated with better health at age 27. The authors noted decreased levels of anxiety and depression in those who had quality friendships, when younger.

Author Joseph P. Allen, a researcher at the University of Virginia said: “These results indicate that remaining close to — as opposed to separating oneself – from the peer pack in adolescence has long-term implications for adult physical health.”

“From a risk and prevention perspective, difficulty forming close relationships early in adolescence may now be considered a marker of risk for long-term health difficulties.”

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