Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 323–334 | Cite as

The relative importance of parents and friends in adolescent decision making

  • Jeffrey Wilks


In this study 175 older adolescents (83 males, 92 females) nominated their parents, particularly their mothers, then friends of the same sex, as people most important in their lives. While parents were rated as more important than friends overall, problems were more frequently discussed with close friends. Using a matched sampling design, the adolescents' own mothers, fathers, and a close friend of the same sex also responded to a scale where parents' or friends' opinions might be sought as part of adolescent decision making. As predicted, parents were perceived as most important in certain “future-oriented” areas, whereas for “current” decisions, friends' opinions were more valued. Several areas of possible parent-peer conflict were also identified.


Decision Making Health Psychology Sampling Design School Psychology Close Friend 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Wilks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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