Extending past research on the social and academic disruption associated with the transition from middle to high school, this study examined the role of friendship stability. Specifically, the goal was to investigate how friendships maintained from middle school and perceived (academic and emotional) support from friends at ninth grade contributed to school-related affect (e.g., school belonging, academic identification, burnout) at 10th grade. Relying on a sample of 3410 ethnically diverse ninth grade students, multilevel structural equation modeling (MSEM) was conducted on 17,255 friendships. Friendships maintained from middle to high school (versus newly formed) provided greater academic support, and students with a greater number of stable friends reported higher levels of both academic and emotional support from friends. Tests of multiple mediation revealed that friendship maintenance across the high school transition was related with more positive school affect at 10th grade, in part due to higher levels of perceived academic support from friends (e.g., homework help, course-taking advice), but not emotional support. The findings underscore the academic value of maintaining social ties across the high school transition.

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