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The Long-Term Physical and Mental Health Implications Of The Teenage Friendship


Joe Allen, Ph.D., University of Virginia

The intensity of the adolescent preoccupation with peer relationships is the stuff of legend-not to mention the target of parental disparagement and angst and the basis for thousands of teen movies and novels. But is this preoccupation more than just an unsettling quirk of this stage of development? This talk will present several forms of data (mental health, physical health, epigenetic, etc. ) suggesting that the adolescent focus on their friendships makes tremendous developmental sense and is actually critical to understanding not just functioning within adolescence, but mental and even physical health well into adulthood. Ultimately, I will suggest a more nuanced view of adolescent peer relationships, as well as discuss some promising avenues for intervening to enhance these relationships.


Brown Bag, Health/Wellness, Lecture/Talk, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences