Adolescent Research Review

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 339–355 | Cite as

Are the Qualities of Adolescents’ Offline Friendships Present in Digital Interactions?

  • Joanna C. YauEmail author
  • Stephanie M. Reich
Narrative Review


Today’s youth often connect with friends online. Although decades of research have explored the core qualities of face-to-face friendships, less is known about how these qualities differ when friends interact via technology. Through a synthesis of research on friendship in digital spaces, we examine whether the core qualities of face-to-face friendships are evident in cyberspace. Six key components of friendships were identified from the large canon of research on friendships and studies that addressed these topics (i.e., self-disclosure, validation, companionship, instrumental support, conflict, and conflict resolution) were reviewed. The findings suggest that, while peer interactions in online spaces may be novel, the core qualities of friendships identified in research on offline spaces persist. Future research directions are identified.


Adolescents Friendship quality Social media Texting Instant messaging Online interactions 



This research was supported, in part, by a Grant from the National Science Foundation to Stephanie M. Reich (1218705). The authors would also like to thank the Development in Social Context Lab at the University of California, Irvine for their feedback.

Author Contributions

JCY conceptualized the study, conducted the literature search, analyzed and interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. SMR conceptualized the study and helped analyze and interpret the data and draft the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This manuscript does not involve any human participants or animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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