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date: 20 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Friendships are vital to emerging adults’ adjustment due to the rapid changes that come during this decade (e.g., leaving their families of origin, delaying adult roles of marriage and parenthood). Indeed, friends are often central to emerging adults’ lives and can afford immeasurable support as they tackle developmental tasks, such as identity. This chapter reviews the literature on the types (same vs. opposite sex vs. friends with benefits), formation processes, and qualities of emerging adults’ friendships. The authors discuss variations in friendships as a function of gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity/culture. Additionally, the authors note the extent to which emerging adults’ friendships change as a result of transitions concerning college, career, relationship status, and parenthood. Next, the authors document the mechanisms of friendship influence and the extent of this influence on salient developmental tasks for emerging adults. They conclude by identifying implications of the findings for researchers and practitioners.

Keywords: Friend, friendship, types of friendships, friendship characteristics, friendship quality, homophily, friendship influence, developmental tasks, emerging adult

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