The role of best friends in educational identity formation in adolescence

L. van Doeselaar, W.H.J. Meeus, Hans M. Koot, Susan Branje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This 4-year longitudinal study examined over-time associations between adolescents' educational identity, perceived best friends' balanced relatedness, and best friends' educational identity. Adolescents (N = 464, Mage = 14.0 years at baseline, 56.0% males, living in the Netherlands) and their self-nominated best friends reported on their educational commitment, in-depth exploration, and reconsideration. Target adolescents also reported on the level of balanced relatedness provided by their best friend. Cross-lagged panel models showed that balanced relatedness significantly predicted adolescents' reconsideration, and was predicted by in-depth exploration and, in an inconsistent pattern, by commitment. Best friends' educational identity did not positively predict adolescents' educational identity. Perceiving a best friend as high on balanced relatedness seems to reduce adolescents' problematic educational reconsideration, while, in turn, adaptive educational identity processes might foster balanced relatedness.
Keywords: Educational identity, Balanced relatedness, Friend, Adolescence, Longitudinal
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Educational identity
  • Balanced relatedness
  • Friend
  • Adolescence
  • Longitudinal


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