A new study found that the quality of friendships during adolescence may directly predict aspects of long-term mental and emotional health. In this photo, Carlos Price Gracida, 13 (L-R), Luke Personius, 12, Kieran Walls, 13, Kevin Elliott, 12, and Shane Moseley, 13, walk to school after surfing at sunrise in Hermosa Beach, California, March 31, 2015. Reuters

If you feel that you lack social skills and hence have few friends, no worries! Having fewer friends that are close to you can actually make you a happier adult in the future if we go by a new study.

The study, which was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed academic journal Child Development, said that teenagers who have a set of close friends are more likely to report "higher rates of overall happiness than those without." Close friendships enhance an individual's feelings of uniqueness that is not possible in a bigger group of friends.

Although being a part of larger groups has its own advantages such as developing higher self-esteem and leadership skills, close friendship bonds have shown a positive link to academic motivation and success.

Researchers also said having close friends in mid-adolescence increases self-worth and decreases anxiety and depressive symptoms in early adulthood.

"Our research found that the quality of friendships during adolescence may directly predict aspects of long-term mental and emotional health," said the study leader Rachel Narr, a graduate student at the University of Virginia, according to UPI.

The researchers studied 169 teenagers over a span of 10 years; from the age of 15 till 25. Almost 60 percent of the subjects were white and 29 percent were black. The children's median family incomes ranged from $40,000 to $60,000.

Each year, the teenagers were questioned about their friendships and also about how they were faring in terms of their mental health; whether they were experiencing anxiety levels or depression symptoms. Their close friends were also interviewed.

At the end of 10 years, it was found that teens who had made close friends at the age of 15, were less socially anxious. They also appeared to have more self-esteem and lesser symptoms of depression by age 25, as compared to ones who didn't form close bonds with peers.

Researchers Millie Ferrer and Anne Fugate in their University of Florida article “The Importance of Friendship for School-Age Children” say that close friendships are necessary for a child's healthy overall development, according to the Miami Herald.

Having positive friends in life is another way of keeping depression at bay. A study released in 2015 said that teenagers who were hanging out with friends, who were usually in a good mood, reduced their risk of developing depression and improved their chances at recovering from it.

"We classified people as ill [depressed] or not and looked at how that changed over time," Thomas Moore, one of the researchers involved in the study and a lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Manchester, said, CNN reported.

Moore said previous studies have indicated that depressed people tend to move in groups, implying that this frame of mind can spread. But the study found the opposite.

"Depression itself doesn't spread, but a healthy mood actually does," he said.

"The effect was big, much bigger than you see from antidepressants," Moore added. "They don't seem to drag their friends down."