Affiliations: Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA | Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA | Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada | Department of Family & Child Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Note:  Address for correspondence: Melissa M. Menzer, Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, 3304 Benjamin Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: We evaluated whether gossip between best friends moderated the relation between anxious withdrawal and friendship quality in early adolescence, using an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM, Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006) approach. Participants (n = 256) were 5th and 6th grade young adolescents (actors) and their best friends (partners). Observed gossip between best friends moderated the association between anxious withdrawal and young adolescent' perceptions of friendship quality. When gossip between best friends was infrequent, the greater the anxious withdrawal the lower the perceived positive friendship quality, but this relation disappeared when gossip between best friends was of moderate or high frequency. Further, when gossip between best friends was infrequent, the greater the anxious withdrawal the lower the perceived friendship conflict; but when gossip was frequent, the greater the anxious withdrawal the greater the friendship conflict. Results suggest that gossip may have both positive and negative consequences for the friendships, when taking into consideration the level of anxious withdrawal of the young adolescents involved in the friendship.
Keywords: Gossip, anxious withdrawal, friendship, early adolescence