Time spent with friends in adolescence relates to less neural sensitivity to later peer rejection.

TitleTime spent with friends in adolescence relates to less neural sensitivity to later peer rejection.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMasten CL, Telzer EH, Fuligni AJ, Lieberman MD, Eisenberger NI
JournalSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci
Date Published2012 Jan
KeywordsAdolescent, Brain, Female, Friends, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Longitudinal Studies, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Peer Group, Rejection (Psychology), Time Factors

Involvement with friends carries many advantages for adolescents, including protection from the detrimental effects of being rejected by peers. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which friendships may serve their protective role at this age, or the potential benefit of these friendships as adolescents transition to adulthood. As such, this investigation tested whether friend involvement during adolescence related to less neural sensitivity to social threats during young adulthood. Twenty-one adolescents reported the amount of time they spent with friends outside of school using a daily diary. Two years later they underwent an fMRI scan, during which they were ostensibly excluded from an online ball-tossing game by two same-age peers. Findings from region of interest and whole brain analyses revealed that spending more time with friends during adolescence related to less activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula--regions previously linked with negative affect and pain processing--during an experience of peer rejection 2 years later. These findings are consistent with the notion that positive relationships during adolescence may relate to individuals being less sensitive to negative social experiences later on.

Alternate JournalSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci
PubMed ID21183457
PubMed Central IDPMC3252626