Childhood friendships and psychological difficulties in young adulthood: An 18-year follow-up study

Kwame S. Sakyi, Pamela J. Surkan, Eric Fombonne, Aude Chollet, Maria Melchior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Childhood friendships have been shown to impact mental health over the short term; however, it is unclear whether these effects are sustained into young adulthood. We studied the prospective association between childhood friendships and psychological difficulties in young adulthood. Data come from 1,103 French 22-35 year olds participating in the TEMPO study. Childhood friendships were ascertained in 1991 when participants were 4-16 years old. Psychological difficulties were measured in 2009 using the Adult Self-Report. Logistic regression models controlled for participants' age, sex, childhood psychological difficulties and parental characteristics. Young adults who had no childhood friends had higher odds of psychological difficulties than those with at least one friend: (adjusted ORs 2.45; 95 % CI 1.32-4.66, p = 0.01 for high internalizing symptoms; 1.81; 95 % CI 0.94-3.54, p = 0.08 for high externalizing symptoms). Social relations early in life may have consequences for adult psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA008
Pages (from-to)815-826
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Childhood
  • Externalizing symptoms
  • Friendship
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Social network
  • Social support
  • Young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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