Having A Best Friend In Your Teenage Years Could Benefit You For Life

Researchers have found that people with deep friendships in adolescence had less anxiety and a greater sense of self-worth in early adulthood. Close friends matter, their study found.
Researchers aren't sure why strong relationships in adolescence seem to pay dividends later in life, but one hypothesis is that those bonds act as a buffer against depression and insults. Source: Maria Fabrizio for NPR

David Thomas and I met when we were about five years old. We celebrated his 26th birthday last weekend, marking roughly two decades of friendship. Once, while walking down the street, a man looked at us and said, "Ain't it Harold and Kumar!" He was almost certainly making light of our race, but perhaps he also saw how comfortable we were with one another. The comparison fits in more ways than one since David is my oldest and closest friend.

David is an M.D.-Ph.D. student now, and I'm a science reporter. We've both read research on the effect friendships can have on mental health, and a published Tuesday in seemed particularly relevant to us. The research suggests that bonds from adolescence might have an outsized role in a person's mental health for years.

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