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Forming, Losing, Renewing, and Replacing Friendships: Applying Temporal Parameters to the Assessment of Children's Friendship Experiences

Jeffrey G. Parker and John Seal
Child Development
Vol. 67, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 2248-2268
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131621
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131621
Page Count: 21
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Forming, Losing, Renewing, and Replacing Friendships: Applying Temporal Parameters to the Assessment of Children's Friendship Experiences
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Abstract

Friendship formation and dissolution were tracked over time in a summer camp to examine whether such events are valid indicators of individual differences in children's friendship adjustment. Subjects were 216 children ages 8-15 years. Sociometric nominations were used to determine the identities of reciprocal friends. Loneliness at camp was also tracked over time. In addition, data on group acceptance, behavioral reputations, social competence, and behavioral problems were gathered from peers and counselors. Analyses suggested that friendship formation and duration were coherent, independent dimensions of individual differences and distinct from the overall extensivity of involvement in friendships. Regression analyses indicated that the temporal parameters of participation in friendship enhanced the prediction of changes in loneliness at camp. Age and sex differences in temporal parameters were explored, and 4 discrete trajectories for friendship involvement were identified. Children with different trajectories differed in their behavioral profiles from one another and from children who were chronically friendless.

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