Theory of mind and peer attachment in adolescence

Marta Białecka-Pikul, Małgorzata Stępień-Nycz, Marta Szpak, Paweł Grygiel, Sandra Bosacki, R.T. Devine, Claire Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing body of research on theory of mind (ToM) highlights its significance for childhood social outcomes. Extending the developmental scope of this work, the current study investigated links between advanced ToM abilities and peer attachment in adolescence. Polish adolescents (16 to 18 years old; N = 302; 57.6% girls) completed two advanced ToM measures and reported on their peer attachment. With the effects of age and language controlled, girls scored higher than boys for both advanced ToM and peer attachment. However, the association between these measures was only significant in boys. These results are discussed in terms of theory and research on gender-specific approaches to social cognitive development in adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1217
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
Early online date26 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express our gratitude to all the adolescents who participated in the study and all the team members for their hard work collecting and coding the data. This research was supported by a grant awarded to Marta Białecka‐Pikul from the National Science Centre, Poland (UMO 2013/10/M/HS6/00544).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for Research on Adolescence


  • adolescence
  • peer attachment
  • theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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