Date of Award

Fall 1997

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Kathleen McCartney


Forty-two adolescents (13-18 years) along with their mothers and best friends participated in this study. Adolescents participated in videotaped interaction tasks with their mothers and with their best friends, in which unresolved problems between the respective dyads were discussed. Attachment, self-esteem, personality, emotional expressiveness, friendship, and mood were assessed with questionnaires. There were four main findings in this study. First, there were positive associations between adolescents' behavior with their mothers and adolescents' behavior with their best friends. There were also positive associations between mothers' behavior with adolescents and adolescents' behavior with best friends. These associations were sometimes mediated by adolescents' attachment, self-esteem, extroversion, and agreeableness. Second, adolescents' as well as best friends' attachment to mother, attachment to father, and attachment to peers were associated with their interaction behavior during the videotaped tasks. Self-esteem, extroversion, and agreeableness served as mediators in several of these associations. Third, there was concordance in attachment between adolescents and their mothers as well as between adolescents and their best friends, although the latter correlations were significant for females only. Finally, there were gender differences in adolescents' and best friends' interaction behavior as well as in their ratings of positive and negative friendship dimensions. Methodological considerations as well as future directions are discussed.