Relationship Reciprocation Modulates Resource Allocation in Adolescent Social Networks: Developmental Effects.
Burnett Heyes S., Jih YR., Block P., Hiu CF., Holmes EA., Lau JY.
Adolescence is characterized as a period of social reorientation toward peer relationships, entailing the emergence of sophisticated social abilities. Two studies (Study 1: N = 42, ages 13-17; Study 2: N = 81, ages 13-16) investigated age group differences in the impact of relationship reciprocation within school-based social networks on an experimental measure of cooperation behavior. Results suggest development between mid- and late adolescence in the extent to which reciprocation of social ties predicted resource allocation. With increasing age group, investment decisions increasingly reflected the degree to which peers reciprocated feelings of friendship. This result may reflect social-cognitive development, which could facilitate the ability to navigate an increasingly complex social world in adolescence and promote positive and enduring relationships into adulthood.