Children’s Friendships and Positive Well-Being
- 3.6k Downloads
Children’s friendships are closely associated with children’s positive well-being. Children who enjoy close friendships are more likely to experience higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction and self-esteem and less likely to be lonely, depressed or victimized. Friendships during childhood are predictive of greater self worth and coping skills later in life but the direction of the relationship between children’s well-being and their friendships (i.e., whether well-being is a cause or consequence of friendships) is not firmly established. Though the study of the links between children’s happiness and friendships is relatively sparse, recent developments in measures of children’s well-being are encouraging. This is important because the relationship between friendships and well-being may be different for children compared to adults and adolescents for reasons such as children do not typically have mature romantic relationships but they do experience friendships with imaginary companions. Given the unique importance of children’s friendships in understanding and promoting children’s happiness, we outline several considerations for future studies in this promising area of research.
KeywordsChildren Happiness Life satisfaction Well-being Friendship Peer relations
- Ames, L. B., & Learned, J. (1946). Imaginary companions and related phenomena. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 69, 147–167. Google Scholar
- Argyle, M. (2001). The psychology of happiness (2nd ed.). East Sussex: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Berk, L. E. (2007). Child development (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
- Berndt, T. J. (2004). Children’s friendships: Shifts over a half-century in perspectives on their development and their effects. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50, 206–223. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.okanagan.bc.ca/ehost/. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bukowski, W. M., Buhrmester, D., & Underwood, M. K. (2011). Peer relations as a developmental context. In M. K. Underwood & L. H. Rosen (Eds.), Social development: Relationships in infancy, childhood, and adolescence (pp. 153–179). New York: The Guilford.Google Scholar
- Demir, M., Orthel, H., & Andelin, A. K. (2013). Friendship and happiness. In S. A. David, I. Boiniwell, & Ayers S. C. (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 860–870). Oxford: Oxford Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195187243.013.0063.Google Scholar
- Demir, M., & Weitekamp, L. A. (2007). I am so happy cause today I found my friend: Friendship and personality and predictors of happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8, 181–211. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9034-1.Google Scholar
- Dodge, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Malone, P. S., & The Conduct Problems Prevention Group. (2008). Testing an idealized dynamic cascade model of the development of serious violence in adolescence. Child Development, 79, 1907–1927. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01233.x.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dunn, J. (2004). Children’s friendships. The beginnings of intimacy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
- Dush C.M., Kamp Taylor M. G., & Kroeger R. A. (2008). Marital happiness and psychological well-being across the life course. Family Relations, 57, 211–226. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00495.x.Google Scholar
- Edwards, C. P., de Guzman, M. R. T., Brown, J., & Kumru, A. (2006). Children’s social behaviours and peer interactions in diverse cultures. In X Chen, D. C. French, & B. H. Schneider (Eds.), Peer relationships in cultural context (pp. 23–51). New York: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511499739.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Field, T., Diego, M., & Sanders, C. E. (2001). Adolescent suicidal ideation. Adolescence, 36, 795–802. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.okanagan.bc.ca/ehost/.
- Francis, L. J., Brown, L. B., Lester, D., & Philipchalk, R. (1998). Happiness as stable extraversion: A cross-cultural examination of the reliability and validity of the Oxford Happiness Inventory among students in the U.K., U.S.A., Australia, and Canada. Personality and Individual Differences, 24, 167–171. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(97)00170-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gerstein, E. D., Crnic, K. A., Blacher, J., & Baker, B. L. (2009). Resilience and the course of daily parenting stress in families of young children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research, 53, 981–997. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2009.01220.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gleason, T. (2004). Imaginary companions and peer acceptance. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 204–209.Google Scholar
- Huebner, E. S., & Diener, C. (2008). Research on life satisfaction of children and youth: Implications for the delivery and school-related services. In M. Eid & R. Larsen (Eds.), The science of subjective well-being (pp. 376–392). New York: Guilford Press. Google Scholar
- Jover, G., & Thoilliez, B. (2010). Biographical research in childhood studies: Exploring children's voices from a pedagogical perspective. In S. Anderson, I. Denhm, V. Sander, & H. Ziegler (Eds.), Children and the good life: new challenges for research on children (pp. 119–129). London: Springer.Google Scholar
- Ladd, G. W. (2009). Trends, travails, and turning points in early research on children’s peer relationships. In K. H. Rubin, W. M. Bukowski, & B. Laursen (Eds.), Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups (pp. 20–41). New York: The Guilford.Google Scholar
- Majors, K. (2012). Friendships: The power of positive alliance. In S. Roffey (Ed.), Positive relationships: Evidence based practice across the world (pp. 127–143). Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media B.V. MajorsGoogle Scholar
- Mauro, J. A. (1991). The friend that only I can see: A longitudinal investigation of children’s imaginary companions. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon.Google Scholar
- McDonald, K. L., Bowker, J. C., Rubin, K. H., Laursen, B., & Duchene, M. S. (2010). Interactions between rejection sensitivity and supportive relationships in the prediction of adolescent’s internalizing difficulties. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 563–574. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9519-4.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Moore, K. A., & Keyes, C. L. M. (2003). A brief history of the study of well-being in children and adults. In M. H. Bornstein, L. Davidson, C. L. M. Keyes, K. A. Moore, & the Centre for Child Well-Being (Eds.), Well-Being: Positive development across the life course (pp. 1–11). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.okanagan.bc.ca/ehost/.
- O’Brien, K., & Mosco, J. (2012). Positive parent-child relationships. In S. Roffey (Ed.), Positive relationships: Evidence based practice across the world (pp. 91–107), New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Partington, J., & Grant, C. (1984). Imaginary playmates and other useful fantasies. In P. Smith (Ed.), Play in animals and humans (pp. 217–240). New York: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Prinstein, M. J., & Dodge, K. A. (2008). Understanding peer influence in children and adolescents. New York: Guilford. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.okanagan.bc.ca/ehost/.
- Rubin, K. H., Coplan, R., Chen, X., Bowker, J., & McDonald, K. L. (2011). Peer relationships in childhood. In M. H. Bornstein & M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Developmental science: An advanced textbook (pp. 519–570). New York: Psychology.Google Scholar
- Schwartz, D., Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., & The Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2000). Friendships as a moderating factor in the pathway between early harsh home environment and later victimization in the peer group. Developmental Psychology, 36, 646–662. doi:10.1037/0012-16188.8.131.526.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Singer, J. L., & Singer, D. G. (1981). Television imagination and aggression: A study of preschoolers. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Singer, D., & Singer, J. L. (1990). The house of make-believe: Children’s play and developing imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, M. (1999). Imaginary companions and the children who create them. New York: Oxford University Press. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.okanagan.bc.ca/ehost/.
- Taylor, M., Carlson, S. M., Maring, B. L., Gerow, L., & Charley, C. (2004). The characteristics and correlates of high fantasy in school-aged children: Imaginary companions, impersonation and social understanding. Developmental Psychology, 40, 1173–1187. doi:10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2063.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Taylor, M., Shawber, A. B., & Mannering, A. M. (2009). Children’s imaginary companions: What is it like to have an invisible friend? In K. Markman, W. Klein, & J. Suhr (Eds.), The handbook of imagination and mental simulation (pp. 211–224). New York: Psychology.Google Scholar
- Vostrovsky, C. (1895). A study of imaginary companions. Education, 15, 393–398. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.okanagan.bc.ca/ehost/.