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Title:Friendship and friendship quality in middle childhood: Links with group acceptance and loneliness
Author(s):Parker, Jeffrey Glenn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Asher, Steven R.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:Research on children's peer relations has dealt mainly with differences in children's group acceptance. Only rarely have studies examined alternative forms of adjustment, particularly children's success at close friendships. Further, the links between success in friendship and acceptance are mostly unknown. This study addressed four primary questions: (1) What is the prevalence of very best friendship among low-accepted children?; (2) How do the friendships of accepted and unaccepted children compare qualitatively?, (3) Do accepted and unaccepted children differ in their satisfaction with their friendships?; and (4) How do acceptance, participation in friendship, and friendship quality and satisfaction relate to children's experience of loneliness? Subjects were 881 third- through fifth-grade children. Children responded to a variety of sociometric measures designed to identify pairs of best friends and to assess children's overall level of acceptance in the classroom. They also responded to a questionnaire designed to assess feelings of loneliness. Finally, children rated their very best mutual friendship on a newly-developed measure that assessed six qualitative dimensions of friendship, and children indicated their satisfaction with their friendship. Many low-accepted children were found to have reciprocal very best friends, although fewer low-accepted children had friends than other children. Low-accepted children reported less validation and caring, less intimate disclosure, less help and guidance, and more conflict and betrayal and more difficulty resolving conflict in their friendships than other children did. Low-accepted children's friendships were not distinctive in the level of companionship and recreation they provided, however. Girls reported higher quality friendships than boys for most dimensions. Despite the lower quality of their friendships, low-accepted children did not report less satisfaction with these relationships than other children. Having a friend had strong buffering effect on children's feelings of loneliness, regardless of level of acceptance. In addition, the quality of children's friendships independently predicted children's feelings of loneliness. Overall, the results point out the need to distinguish friendship from group acceptance, and highlight the importance of assessing the quality, not simply the quantity, of children's friendships.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Parker, Jeffrey Glenn
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136695
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136695

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