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Teens’ Peer Struggles Can Forecast Long-Term Problems

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, teenagers who struggle to connect with their peers often struggle to make friends and avoid problems later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Virginia published the results of the study in the journal Child Development.

Joseph P. Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia, led the study. "Overall, we found that teens face a high-wire act with their peers," said Allen. "They need to establish strong, positive connections with them while at the same time establishing independence in resisting deviant peer influences. Those who don’t manage this have significant problems as much as a decade later."

The study followed approximately 150 teens for 10 years in order to determine whether there were long-term impacts to peer struggles during the adolescent years. The study found that there were long-terms effects, including difficulty managing disagreements in romantic relationships.

Additionally, the study showed that teens who were involved in minor forms of deviance were at higher risk of alcohol and substance use and illegal behavior later in life.

According to the study, teens who managed to connect with others while still standing up for themselves and "becoming their own persons" were rated as the most competent overall by age 23.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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