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The Development of Companionship and Intimacy

Duane Buhrmester and Wyndol Furman
Child Development
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Aug., 1987), pp. 1101-1113
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130550
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130550
Page Count: 13
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The Development of Companionship and Intimacy
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Abstract

This study is concerned with the development of companionship and intimacy. Subjects in the second, fifth, and eighth grades (mean ages, respectively, 7.5, 10.4, and 13.4) rated the importance and extent of companionship and intimate disclosure experienced in social life in general and in each of 8 types of relationships. Companionship was perceived as a desired social provision at all 3 grade levels. Family members were important providers of companionship for children in the second and fifth grades, but they became significantly less so in the eighth grade. Same-sex peers were important providers across all 3 grades, and they became increasingly important as children grew older. Opposite-sex peers did not become important as companions until the eighth grade. Counter to expectations, there were no age differences in the global desire for intimacy. Parents were important providers of intimate disclosure for the youngest children, but they were less important among the younger adolescents. There was mixed support for the hypothesis that same-sex friends become important providers of intimacy during preadolescence. Findings were different for boys and girls, suggesting that girls seek intimate disclosure in friendship at younger ages than boys do.

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