Early roots of adult competence: The significance of close relationships from infancy to early adulthood

Michelle M. Englund, Sally I.Chun Kuo, Jennifer Puig, W. Andrew Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Social capital has traditionally been defined in terms of the amount of resources that one derives as a result of a diversity of interpersonal relationships. However, the quality of these relationships across development has not been examined as a contributor to social capital and few studies have examined the significance of various age-salient relationships in predicting adaptive functioning, especially testing for cumulative effects over time. Using data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, developmental models spanning from infancy to adulthood were tested via path modeling, linking quality of various age-salient relationships (e.g., infant-caregiver attachment, peer competence, friendship security, and effectiveness in romantic relationships) to global adaptive functioning at age 28. As hypothesized, quality of age-salient relationships during different developmental periods predicted the quality of subsequent relationships, but also showed links with adaptive functioning in early adulthood. Results also showed that the quality of infant attachment relationships not only was linked with more proximal relationships, but also had direct effects on global functioning, suggesting the potential significance of early relationship quality in adaption and well-being in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-496
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • development
  • longitudinal study
  • mother-infant relationships
  • peer influence
  • relationship between parents and adolescents
  • relationship quality
  • romantic relationships
  • social adjustment

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