Friendships in Childhood and Adolescence

By Catherine L. Bagwell, Michelle E. Schmidt

© 2013 – Guilford Press

389 pages

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About the Book

Highly readable and comprehensive, this volume explores the significance of friendship for social, emotional, and cognitive development from early childhood through adolescence. The authors trace how friendships change as children age and what specific functions these relationships play in promoting adjustment and well-being. Compelling topics include the effects of individual differences on friendship quality, how friendship quality can be assessed, and ways in which certain friendships may promote negative outcomes. Examining what clinicians, educators, and parents can do to help children who struggle with making friends, the book reviews available interventions and identifies important directions for future work in the field.


"This clear and authoritative book is a splendid resource for all those interested in children’s friendships – their drama and excitements, pleasures and problems. It covers a broad range of topics with exemplary thoroughness; where the research findings are inconsistent, the authors keep a sharp eye on the empirical evidence. The focus includes topics of clinical interest, such as attachment relationships, antisocial and aggressive behavior, deviance, and what is known from intervention studies. Most strikingly, the book highlights key questions raised by the research findings and by the gaps in what we know. This questioning approach makes it a stimulating read, of real value for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and their teachers." - Judy Dunn, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK

"This beautifully written book illuminates the ordinary magic of children's and adolescents' friendships. The book integrates diverse theoretical perspectives and the sprawling research literature on friendship in an accessible, engaging manner, with lively examples all along the way. It will be of great interest to everyone who seeks to understand children's friendships: researchers, clinicians, students of social development, educators, and all who desire to foster positive relationships between young people. It is also well suited as a text for undergraduate and graduate courses on social development and seminars on friendship and close relationships." - Marion K. Underwood, Ashbel Smith Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of Texas, USA

Table of Contents

Part I. The Nature of Friendship. What Is Friendship? Studying Friendship. Part II. The Normative Experience of Friendship. The Developmental Significance of Friendship in Childhood. The Developmental Significance of Friendship in Adolescence. Part III. Individual Differences in the Experience of Friendship. The Individuals within a Friendship. Friendship Quality. Part IV. Implications and Looking Forward. Friendship and Culture, with Emily C. Jenchura. Friendship Intervention. The Significance of Friendship.

About the Authors

Catherine L. Bagwell, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia, USA; and Michelle E. Schmidt, PhD, Department of Psychology, Moravian College, Pennsylvania, USA

About the Series

Guilford Series on Social and Emotional Development

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