Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Name

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Lisa Merchant

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Joanna Mendez-Pounds

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Greg Brooks


Emerging adulthood is a life stage of great change, and often instability in relationships and attachment (Demir et al., 2015; Lane et al., 2017; Shulman & Connolly, 2013). Intimate friendships can be a moderating factor and assistance in gaining stability and increasing life satisfaction (Demir, 2021; Demir et al., 2015; Sanchez et al., 2020). This study used grounded theory methodology (Creswell & Poth, 2018) to develop a model of the process which Twentysomethings undergo while forming and maintaining intimate, or best, friendships. Through interviews with best friend pairs, this study found three main phases of the best friend process: forming friendship, deepening friendships, and maintaining friendships. Each of these phases also include sub-processes which push the overall process forward. The goal of this research is to assist clinicians working with Twentysomethings have a clear framework for establishing deep social connections, as well as to increase overall knowledge of friendship formation and maintenance after adolescence.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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