Are you my friend too? The role of reciprocal friendship: links to friendship quality, peer and school identification and general self-worth.

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Peer relationships are important for children’s social development, with good quality friendships linked to well-being and school belonging (Hamm & Faircloth, 2005). In particular, the experience of a close dyadic reciprocal friendship with a peer is valuable (Hartup, 1996; Berndt, 2002), and can protect children from adverse circumstances. Children with problematic peer relationships, including friendlessness, risk a range of negative outcomes, are more likely to dislike school and feel socially isolated. This paper reports on research into children’s friendships (aged 9-11 yrs), and links to feelings of self-worth and school belonging. 314 children from 5 primary schools completed an abbreviated version of the ‘About me’ scale (Maras, 2005) to measure their identification with peers, school, and self-worth. They then nominated their main friends and best friend in their class. A Friendship Quality Questionnaire (Bukowski, Hoza & Boivin, 1994) was completed to measure the quality of their closest friendship on features such as companionship, closeness, security, help, and conflict. Findings showed that higher quality friendships were associated with higher scores on peer and school identification and general self-worth. Children who received more friendship nominations from their peers scored higher on the About Me measure. Children with a reciprocal best friend fared better in terms of friendship quality, school and peer identification and general self-worth compared to children without a best friend. The paper highlights the importance of reciprocal dyadic friendships for children’s well-being, and the potential risks for individuals who do not have close relations with a peer at school.
Period22 Oct 201524 Oct 2015
Event titleBritish Psychological Society, Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference: The Role of Competence Beliefs in Teaching and Learning
Event typeConference
LocationLiverpool, United KingdomShow on map