Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 1847-1857

First online:

The Association Between Early Generative Concern and Caregiving with Friends from Early to Middle Adolescence

  • Heather L. LawfordAffiliated withPsychology Department, Bishop’s University Email author 
  • , Anna-Beth DoyleAffiliated withCentre for Research in Human Development and Psychology Department, Concordia University
  • , Dorothy MarkiewiczAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brock University

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Generativity, defined as concern for future generations, is theorized to become a priority in midlife, preceded by a stage in which intimacy is the central issue. Recent research, however, has found evidence of generativity even in adolescence. This longitudinal study explored the associations between caregiving in friendships, closely related to intimacy, and early generative concern in a young adolescent sample. Given the importance of close friendships in adolescence, it was hypothesized that responsive caregiving in early adolescent friendships would predict later generative concern. Approximately 140 adolescents (56 % female, aged 14 at Time 1) completed questionnaires regarding generative concern and responsive caregiving with friends yearly across 2 years. Structural equation modeling revealed that caregiving predicted generative concern 1 year later but generative concern did not predict later caregiving. These results suggest that caregiving in close friendships plays an important role in the development of adolescents’ motivation to contribute to future generations.


Generativity Caregiving Friendships Longitudinal