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16-03-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2016

Evaluating the Psychological Concomitants of Other-Sex Crush Experiences During Early Adolescence

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2016
Julie C. Bowker, Rebecca G. Etkin


Very little empirical attention has been paid to other-sex crush experiences during adolescence. As a result, it is not known whether such experiences, which appear to be relatively common, impact psychological adjustment outcomes. This two-wave (3 month interval) longitudinal study of 268 young adolescents (48 % girls; M age at Time 1 = 11.84 years) examined the psychological concomitants of other-sex crush experiences (having and being viewed by others as a crush). Anxious-withdrawal and gender were evaluated as moderators. Peer nomination measures at Time 1 assessed both types of crush experiences and mutual friendship involvement, and participants completed self-report measures of loneliness and depressive symptoms at Times 1 and 2. The results from regression analyses revealed significant associations between having an other-sex crush and depressive symptoms at Time 1 and loneliness at Time 2, after accounting for the effects of mutual friendship. Two interaction effects also revealed that crush status was a risk factor for depressive symptoms at low levels of anxious-withdrawal but a protective factor at high levels. The findings provide the first empirical evidence that other-sex crush experiences are developmentally significant during early adolescence.

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