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Why Friendship?

“Positive friendship relationships in adolescence are associated with a host of positive outcomes, including lower rates of delinquency, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, and bullying victimization, and a higher level of academic achievement.” (Santrock, 2014)
“Not having a close relationship or having less contact with friends, or having friends who are suffering from depressed, and experiencing peer rejection - all increase depressive tendencies in adolescents.” (Santrock, 2014)

According to research, interacting with delinquent peers significantly

increases the risk of becoming delinquent.

(Kendrick, Jutengren, & Stattin, 2012; Tucker & others, 2012; Way & Silverman, 2012; Wentzel, 2013; Brendgen & others, 2010; Schwartz-Mette & Rose, 2013; Deutsch & others, 2012).

The most influential theorist to discuss the importance of friendships was Harry Sullivan (1953). Sullivan contended that friends had a significant impact on the well-being and development of children and adolescents. According to Sullivan, everyone has a set of basic social needs:

  • Tenderness (secure attachment)

  • Playful companionship

  • Social acceptance

  • Intimacy

  • Sexual relations

“Whether or not these needs are fulfilled largely determines our emotional well-being. For example, if the need for playful companionship goes unmet, then we become bored and depressed; if the need for social acceptance is not met, we suffer a lowered sense of self- worth. Sullivan stressed that the need for intimacy intensifies during early adolescence, motivating teenagers to seek out close friends.” (Sullivan,1953)

Research findings support many of Sullivan’s ideas:

“Adolescents also say they depend more on friends than on parents to satisfy their needs for companionship, reassurance of worth, and intimacy

(Furman & Buhrmester, 1992)

Friendship relationships are frequently significant sources of support. Sullivan described how adolescent friends boost one another's self-esteem. Close friends discover that they are not "abnormal" and have nothing to be ashamed of when they share their mutual insecurities and fears about themselves. Friends can also serve as important confidants, assisting children and adolescents in dealing with difficult issues (such as problems with parents or the end of romantic relationships) by providing both emotional support and information.

(Berndt, 1999; Wentzel, 2013).

Peer Pressure and Conformity

Coordinated Worlds of Parent-Child and Peer Relations


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