Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Orly Calderon, PsyD

Second Advisor

Eva Feindler, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Linnea Mavrides, Ph.D.


This research explored the phenomenon of friendship dissolution for emerging adults (18-25 years). While romantic dissolution in this age group has received extensive attention (Belu et al., 2016), there remains a notable gap in understanding friendship dissolution during emerging adulthood, despite the recognized significance of high-quality friendships during this transitional developmental period (Arnette, 2006; McNamara Barry et al., 2014). Eighteen emerging adult participants partook in a semi-structured interview asking them to describe their experience of a friendship dissolution with a close or best friend during emerging adulthood. Using Moustaka’s (1994) structured coding method, interview transcripts were methodically coded and analyzed. Through this process, seven key themes emerged: (a) definition of close/best friendship (b) underlying reasons for the dissolution (c) pathways to the dissolution (d) current state of the relationship (e) repercussions on self & other relationships (f) comparison of friendship and romantic dissolutions, and (g) commonality of the experience in contrast to societal expectations. Findings from this study revealed the nuances of the experience of friendship dissolution during emerging adulthood and uncovered the reasons for dissolution, the processes involved, and the emotional and identity-related implications. The study underscores the necessity for further investigation into this phenomenon and emphasizes the significance of recognizing and validating the experiences of friendship dissolution among emerging adults, despite the prevailing societal stigma surrounding it.