Predicting Friendship Stability during Early Adolescence
Journal of Early Adolescence , Volume 24 - Issue 2 p. 85- 112
This study examined the stability of early adolescent best friendships across a school year. Grade 7 students (N = 174) participated in group-testing sessions in the fall and spring of their school year. Participants completed peer-nomination measures, described the quality of their best friendships, their knowledge of their best friend, and their typical conflict-resolution strategies in response to peer conflicts. Approximately 50% of the reciprocated best friendships remained stable across the school year. Friendship quality and knowledge were unrelated to friendship stability. However, stability of boys' friendships was positively correlated with minimization strategies, whereas stability of girls' best friendships was negatively correlated with minimization strategies but positively related to greater use of negative (i.e., confrontational) strategies in response to peer conflict. Results are discussed with reference to the rules of friendship and to the conflicting demands for compliance and autonomy within a close relationship.