Friendship Dissolution in Adolescence: Considering the Factors Surrounding Dissolution and Their Associations with Adjustmentedit
Friendships are important relationships in the lives of adolescents. However, about half of adolescent best friendships end across the course of a school year, and very little research has focused on the factors surrounding their dissolution. The current study aimed to examine different aspects of friendship dissolution in adolescence, such as the number of friendship dissolutions experienced, the reasons driving dissolution, and the way that friendships ended in a sample of middle school students (N = 354). Results suggest that dissolutions are incredibly common, reported by 86% of the sample, that conflict/betrayal is the most common reason for friendship dissolution, and that avoidance is the most common method used to end a friendship. The current study also demonstrated that adolescents feel sadness and happiness/relief most intensely following dissolution experiences, and that various reactions to the dissolution are differentially associated with both the reasons for dissolution and ways the dissolution takes place. Finally, contextual factors, like quality of the friendship, availability of social support, and the disruptive effect that ending one friendship has on other friendships all were associated with adjustment indicators following the dissolution. Implications for intervention efforts and future research are discussed.