Original Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 270-279

Early Adolescent Relationship Predictors of Emerging Adult Outcomes: Youth With and Without Type 1 Diabetes

  • Vicki S. HelgesonAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon UniversityDepartment of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University Email author 
  • , Dianne K. PalladinoAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Kerry A. ReynoldsAffiliated withThe Rand Corporation
  • , Dorothy BeckerAffiliated withChildren’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • , Oscar EscobarAffiliated withChildren’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • , Linda SiminerioAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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Emerging adulthood is a high-risk period for mental health problems and risk behaviors for youth generally and for physical health problems among those with type 1 diabetes.


The purpose of this study was to examine whether adolescents’ relationships with parents and friends predict health and risk behaviors during emerging adulthood.


Youth with and without diabetes were enrolled at average age 12 and followed for 7 years. Parent and friend relationship variables, measured during adolescence, were used to predict emerging adulthood outcomes: depression, risk behavior, and, for those with diabetes, diabetes outcomes.


Parent relationship quality predicted decreased depressive symptoms and, for those with diabetes, decreased alcohol use. Parent control predicted increased smoking, reduced college attendance, and, for control participants, increased depressive symptoms. For those with diabetes, parent control predicted decreased depressive symptoms and better self-care. Friend relationship variables predicted few outcomes.


Adolescent parent relationships remain an important influence on emerging adults’ lives.


Emerging adulthood Parent relationships Diabetes Risk and resistance framework