Peer Adversity Predicts Interpersonal Needs in Adolescent Girls

Haley V. Skymba, Cali Joyce, Eva H. Telzer, Karen D. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need to belong (NTB) and need for approval (NFA) are fundamental interpersonal needs vital to social development. Although these needs are universal, individual differences in the strength of these needs likely emerge from critical social experiences. In particular, given the growing salience of peer social evaluation and belonging across adolescence, interpersonal needs during this stage may be strongly tied to both early and recent experiences in the peer group. The aim of the present study was to examine the contribution of lifetime and recent peer adversity to both general and situation-specific interpersonal needs in a sample of adolescent girls (N = 89, Mage = 15.85). Results revealed that recent peer adversity predicted avoidance-oriented NFA, whereas a significant interaction between lifetime and recent peer adversity predicted approach-oriented NFA. Although neither lifetime nor recent peer adversity predicted individual differences in NTB, both predicted threats to interpersonal needs in the context of a laboratory manipulation of social exclusion. Specifically, both lifetime and recent peer adversity predicted greater need-threat prior to the exclusion, but only individuals who had experienced lifetime peer adversity continued to display ongoing high levels of threatened interpersonal needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1566-1579
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • adolescence
  • need for approval
  • need to belong
  • peer adversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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