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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1992 Feb;13(1):59-66.

Friendship in adolescence.

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  • 1Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064.


This article reviews current theory and research on adolescent friendship and offers a framework in which friendship is developmentally characterized by reciprocity, co-construction and consensual validation. Three areas of research are reviewed: (1) the relative influence of parents and peers, (2) popularity among peers, and (3) gender differences in friendship. These conclusions are drawn: (1) although peer influence increases during adolescence, parents remain strong socializing agents throughout adolescence; (2) popularity status is associated with social behavior. These behaviors are related to differential developmental outcomes for adolescents; (3) studies on the socialization of gender need to take into account the cultural context and historical changes in male-female distinctions. After years of neglect, social scientists have found friendship to be an important vehicle for psychological and psychiatric development. For example, a promising new development is the use of peer interaction as a therapeutic tool for troubled adolescents.

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