Children's conceptions of friendship: A multimethod study of developmental changes

Wyndol Furman, Karen L. Bierman

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124 Scopus citations


84 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders were administered 3 measures: (a) an open-ended interview, (b) a story-recognition task, and (c) a questionnaire about the importance of different characteristics to friendships and acquaintances. In general, friendship expectations based on dispositional characteristics (e.g., being considerate of others' feelings) increased in saliency with age, whereas characteristics referring to overt behaviors (e.g., sharing secrets) remained constant. Several substantive differences were found among the 3 measures. Ss recognized the importance of different friendship expectations before spontaneously reporting them in the interview. The recognition tasks yielded a more complete set of friendship expectations than the interview did. Ss of all ages differentiated between expectations for friends and acquaintances, but the degree of differentiation increased with age. Results support J. J. LaGaipa's (1979) hypothesis that children begin to differentiate among relationships prior to adolescence. (14 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-931
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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