Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 1847–1857 | Cite as

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

  • Heather L. LawfordEmail author
  • Anna-Beth Doyle
  • Dorothy Markiewicz
Empirical Research


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 



We are very grateful to William M. Bukowski for insights on earlier versions the manuscript and data analysis. We are also very grateful to Michael W. Pratt for insights on earlier versions of this manuscript and to anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript. Funding for this project was supported by a SSHRC grant awarded to the second and third authors and a SSHRC doctoral scholarship awarded to the first author.

Author contributions

HLL conceived of the study as part of her doctoral dissertation. She participated in the design of the study, performed all data analyses, wrote the original draft of the manuscript and contributed to substantial edits. ABD principally supervised HLL, participated in the design of larger longitudinal study (Principal Investigator with DM), participated in the design of this study, consulted on analysis of the data, and contributed to substantial edits in drafts of the manuscript. DM co-supervised HLL, participated in design of larger longitudinal study (Co-investigator with ABD), participated in the design of this study, and contributed to substantial edits in drafts of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather L. Lawford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna-Beth Doyle
    • 2
  • Dorothy Markiewicz
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentBishop’s UniversitySherbrookeCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Human Development and Psychology DepartmentConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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