Author(s)Jackey, Lisa Marie Hohmann
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AbstractSocial relations are important developmental contexts throughout the lifespan. Yet the nature and function of social relations changes substantially with development. Many theories propose that early social relations can impact later functioning (e.g., Bowlby, 1969; Whitbeck, Hoyt, & Huck, 1994; Kahn & Antonucci, 1980). The objective of this dissertation was to examine both the short- and long-term implications of children???s social relations, including the extent to which social relations exhibit continuity from middle childhood into early adulthood. Data from the Social Relations and Health Across the Life Course Study were used to address this objective. Patterns of social relations were identified and the long-term implications of social relations examined among 8-12 year-old children followed up 12 years later, when they were young adults. Results indicated four primary patterns of social relations exhibited by children. Patterns were distinguished primarily by the extent to which children???s social networks included immediate family, extended family, and friends. There was little apparent continuity in social relations from middle childhood to early adulthood. Social relations during middle childhood were minimally associated with concurrent educational orientation, and were more strongly associated with well-being, educational attainment and adoption of adult social roles 12 years later. Reporting proximal social networks that include immediate as well as extended family, and include many adults was beneficial for children???s long-term functioning. Reporting that one???s mother is the primary supporter was also beneficial. Results are discussed with respect to the relative influence of social network structure, network composition, and social support. Findings are also discussed in the context of the convoy model of social relations and of lifespan human development.