Distinct but linked: How friendships contribute to personal growth through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology
The purpose of this study was to integrate diverse fields of thought to demonstrate how friendships uniquely promote personal growth through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB). This study utilized quantitative methodology with a cross-sectional survey from the third wave of Midlife in the United States (MIDUS 3) to investigate whether neural and social integration mediated the effects between friendship and personal growth. Friendships were shown to contribute meaningfully to personal growth above and beyond the role of intrapersonal factors, as supported through a hierarchical linear regression. Also, the influence of friendships on personal growth was partially mediated through neural and social integration, as revealed through a parallel mediation model using the PROCESS syntax. Results from these analyses supported all research hypotheses and indicate that friendships contribute to personal growth through both neural and social integration.