Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 25–34 | Cite as

Best Friendship Qualities and Mental Health Symptomatology Among Young Adults

  • Alan R. King
  • Cheryl Terrance


Studies have shown the potential value of social support in altering the progression of various forms of psychopathology. While best friendships represent an important element of social support, their development and associations with mental health status in young adulthood is not well understood. The present study provided unique data regarding MMPI-2 that correlates with the closeness, maintenance difficulty, and rewards of the best friendships described by 398 young adult men and women. The finding of 57 (31%) significant (p < .05) correlations suggested extensive covariation (Cohen d effect sizes ranging from .28 to .72) between MMPI-2 scale indicators of mental health concerns and the best friendship qualities measured by the Acquaintance Description Form (Wright in (Duck, Perlman (eds.) The acquaintance description form, 1985). Four of the ADF-F2 scales (security, social regulation, personal, and situational maintenance difficulty) were found strongly related to selected MMPI-2 (F, Sc and K) features. D, Pt, and Hs scores predicted lower levels of best friendship security along with higher situational maintenance difficulty. The MMPI-2 personality disorder scales (Pd and Hy) provided weak predictors of best friendship qualities. Gender differences in the nature of these relationships were minimal. Empirical relationships between friendship qualities and mental health status in childhood and young adulthood appear to warrant closer systematic attention in the psychological literature.


Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) Acquaintance Description Form (ADF-F2) Friendship qualities Best friend 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

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