Friendship and Romantic Relationships Among Emerging Adults with and Without Type 1 Diabetes

Published in: Journal of Pediatric Psychology, v. 40, no. 3, Apr. 2015, p. [359]-372

Posted on RAND.org on April 14, 2015

by Vicki S. Helgeson, Katilyn Mascatelli, Kerry Reynolds, Dorothy J. Becker, Oscar Escobar, Linda M. Siminerio

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OBJECTIVE: To examine whether friendship and romantic relationships of emerging adults with type 1 diabetes differed from those of a comparison group, and to determine whether these relationships were associated with psychological and diabetes health outcomes. METHODS: High school seniors with (n = 122) and without (n = 118) type 1 diabetes were assessed annually for 3 years. Friend and romantic relationship variables, psychological distress, life satisfaction, eating disturbances, and, for those with diabetes, diabetes outcomes were assessed. RESULTS: Those with diabetes reported less friend support but similar friend conflict compared with controls. Aspects of romantic relationships and friend relationships were associated with health outcomes, but there were more effects involving romantic relationships. On some indices, romantic support was more beneficial for controls and romantic conflict was more troublesome for those with diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: Both friendship and romantic relationships were associated with psychological and diabetes outcomes among emerging adults.

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