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Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people.It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association, and has been studied in academic fields such as communication, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles.
Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection, kindness, love, virtue, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, loyalty, generosity, forgiveness, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other's company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. Friendship is an essential aspect of relationship building skills.
The understanding of friendship in children tends to be more heavily focused on areas such as common activities, physical proximity, and shared expectations. 498 These friendships provide opportunity for playing and practicing self-regulation. :246 Most children tend to describe friendship in terms of things like sharing, and children are more likely to share with someone they consider to be a friend. :246 As children mature, they become less individualized and are more aware of others. They gain the ability to empathize with their friends, and enjoy playing in groups. They also experience peer rejection as they move through the middle childhood years. Establishing good friendships at a young age helps a child to be better acclimated in society later on in their life.:
Based upon the reports of teachers and mothers, 75% of preschool children had at least one friend. This figure rose to 78% through the fifth grade, as measured by co-nomination as friends, and 55% had a mutual best friend. 247 About 15% of children were found to be chronically friendless, reporting periods without mutual friends at least six months. :250:
Potential benefits of friendship include the opportunity to learn about empathy and problem solving.Coaching from parents can be useful in helping children to make friends. Eileen Kennedy-Moore describes three key ingredients of children's friendship formation: (1) openness, (2) similarity, and (3) shared fun. Parents can also help children understand social guidelines they haven't learned on their own. Drawing from research by Robert Selman and others, Kennedy-Moore outlines developmental stages in children's friendship, reflecting an increasing capacity to understand others' perspectives: "I Want It My Way", "What's In It For Me?", "By the Rules", "Caring and Sharing", and "Friends Through Thick and Thin."
In adolescence, friendships become "more giving, sharing, frank, supportive, and spontaneous." Adolescents tend to seek out peers who can provide such qualities in a reciprocal relationship, and to avoid peers whose problematic behavior suggest they may not be able to satisfy these needs. 246Personal characteristics and dispositions are also features sought by adolescents, when choosing whom to begin a friendship with. Relationships begin to maintain a focus on shared values, loyalty, and common interests, rather than physical concerns like proximity and access to play things that more characterize childhood. :
A study performed at the University of Texas at Austin examined over 9,000 American adolescents to determine how their engagement in problematic behavior (such as stealing, fighting, and truancy) was related to their friendships. Findings indicated that adolescents were less likely to engage in problem behavior when their friends did well in school, participated in school activities, avoided drinking, and had good mental health. The opposite was found regarding adolescents who did engage in problematic behavior. Whether adolescents were influenced by their friends to engage in problem behavior depended on how much they were exposed to those friends, and whether they and their friendship groups "fit in" at school.
A study by researchers from Purdue University found that friendships formed during post-secondary education last longer than friendships formed earlier.In late adolescence cross-racial friendships tend to be uncommon, likely due to prejudice and cultural differences.
Friendship in adulthood provides companionship, affection, as well as emotional support, and contributes positively to mental well-being and improved physical health. 426:
Adults may find it particularly difficult to maintain meaningful friendships in the workplace. "The workplace can crackle with competition, so people learn to hide vulnerabilities and quirks from colleagues. Work friendships often take on a transactional feel; it is difficult to say where networking ends and real friendship begins."Most adults value the financial security of their jobs more than friendship with coworkers.
The majority of adults have an average of two close friends.Numerous studies with adults suggest that friendships and other supportive relationships do enhance self-esteem.
Older adults continue to report high levels of personal satisfaction in their friendships as they age, even as the overall number of friends tends to decline. This satisfaction is associated with an increased ability to accomplish activities of daily living, as well as a reduced decline in cognitive abilities, decreased instances of hospitalization, and better outcomes related to rehabilitation. 427 The overall number of reported friends in later life may be mediated by increased lucidity, better speech and vision, and marital status. :53:
As one review phrased it:
Research within the past four decades has now consistently found that older adults reporting the highest levels of happiness and general well being also report strong, close ties to numerous friends.
As family responsibilities and vocational pressures lessen, friendships become more important. Among the elderly, friendships can provide links to the larger community, serve as a protective factor against depression and loneliness, and compensate for potential losses in social support previously given by family members. 32–33 Especially for people who cannot go out as often, interactions with friends allow for continued societal interaction. Additionally, older adults in declining health who remain in contact with friends show improved psychological well-being.:
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have difficulty forming and maintaining friendships, due to a limited ability to build social skills through observational learning, difficulties attending to social cues, and because of the social impacts of impulsive behavior and a greater tendency to engage in behavior that may be seen as disruptive by their peers.In a 2007 review, no treatment was identified which effectively address peer functioning in children with ADHD, and treatments which addressed other aspects of the disorder were not found to eliminate issues related to peer functioning.
Certain symptoms of autism spectrum disorders can interfere with the formation of interpersonal relations, such as a preference for routine actions, resistance to change, obsession with particular interests or rituals, and a lack of social skills. Children with autism have been found to be more likely to be close friends of one person, rather than having groups of friends. Additionally, they are more likely to be close friends of other children with some sort of a disability.A sense of parental attachment aids in the quality of friendships in children with autism spectrum disorders; a sense of attachment with one's parents compensates for a lack of social skills that would usually inhibit friendships.
A study done by Frankel et al. showed that parental intervention and instruction plays an important role in such children developing friendships.Along with parental intervention, school professionals play an important role in teaching social skills and peer interaction. Paraprofessionals, specifically one-on-one aides and classroom aides, are often placed with children with autism spectrum disorders in order to facilitate friendships and guide the child in making and maintaining substantial friendships.
Although lessons and training may help peers of children with autism, bullying is still a major concern in social situations. According to Anahad O'Connor of The New York Times , bullying is most likely to occur against children with autism spectrum disorders who have the most potential to live independently. Such children are more at risk because they have as many of the rituals and lack of social skills as children with lower-functioning (more obvious) autism, but they are more likely to be mainstreamed in school, since they are on the higher-functioning (less obvious) end of the autism spectrum. Children with autism have more difficulty attending to social cues, and so may not always recognize when they are being bullied.
Children with Down syndrome have increased difficulty forming friendships. They experience a language delay causing them to have a harder time playing with other children. Most children with Down syndrome may prefer to watch other students and play alongside a friend but not with them, mostly because they understand more than they can outwardly express. In preschool years, children with Down syndrome can benefit from the classroom setting, surrounded by other children and less dependent on adult aid. Children with this disability benefit from a variety of interactions with both adults and children. At school, ensuring an inclusive environment in the classroom can be difficult, but proximity to close friends can be crucial for social development.
Studies have found that strong social supports improve a person's prospects for good health and longevity. Conversely, loneliness and a lack of social supports have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections, and cancer, as well as higher mortality rates overall. Two researchers have even termed friendship networks a "behavioral vaccine" that boosts both physical and mental health.
There is a large body of research linking friendship and health, but the precise reasons for the connection remain unclear. Most of the studies in this area are large prospective studies that follow people over time, and while there may be a correlation between the two variables (friendship and health status), researchers still do not know if there is a cause and effect relationship, such as the notion that good friendships actually improve health. A number of theories have attempted to explain this link. These theories have included that good friends encourage their friends to lead more healthy lifestyles; that good friends encourage their friends to seek help and access services when needed; that good friends enhance their friends' coping skills in dealing with illness and other health problems; and that good friends actually affect physiological pathways that are protective of health.
The lack of friendship has been found to play a role in increasing risk of suicidal ideation among female adolescents, including having more friends who were not themselves friends with one another. However, no similar effect was observed for males.Having few or no friends is a major indicator in the diagnosis of a range of mental disorders.
Higher friendship quality directly contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence, and social development. 500 Peer rejection is also associated with lower later aspiration in the workforce, and participation in social activities, while higher levels of friendship was associated with higher adult self-esteem. :500–01A World Happiness Database study found that people with close friendships are happier, although the absolute number of friends did not increase happiness. Other studies have suggested that children who have friendships of a high quality may be protected against the development of certain disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Conversely, having few friends is associated with dropping out of school, as well as aggression, and adult crime. :
The dissolution of a friendship may be viewed as a personal rejection, or may be the result of natural changes over time, as friends grow more distant both physically and emotionally. The disruption of friendships has been associated with increased guilt, anger and depression, and may be highly stressful events, especially in childhood. However, potential negative effects can be mitigated if the dissolution of a friendship is replaced with another close relationship. 248:
Friends tend to be more similar to one another in terms of age, gender, behavior, substance abuse, personal disposition, and academic performance. 248 :426 :55–56 In ethnically diverse countries, there is broad evidence that children and adolescents tend to form friendships with others of the same race or ethnicity, beginning in preschool, and peaking in middle or late childhood. :264:
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In general, female-female friendship interactions among children tend to be more focused on interpersonal connections and mutual support, while male-male interaction tends to be more focused on social status, and may actively discourage the expression of emotional needs. 320–02 Females report more anxiety, jealousy, and relational victimization and less stability related to their friendships, and males report higher levels of physical victimization. Nevertheless, males and females tend to report comparative levels of satisfaction with their friendships. :249–50 Regarding same-sex friendships women tend to be more expressive and intimate in their same-sex friendships and have a smaller range of friends. Males are more likely to define intimacy in terms of shared physical experiences while females are more likely to define it in terms of shared emotional ones. Males are less likely to make emotional or personal disclosures to other males, because this could potentially be information used against them. They will disclose this to females however (as they are not in competition with them) and males tend to regard friendships with females as more meaningful, intimate and pleasant. Male-male friendships are generally more like alliances while female-female friendships are generally much more attachment based. This also means that the end of male-male friendships tends to be less emotionally upsetting than that of female-female friendships.:
Among older adults, women tend to be more socially adept than their male peers, and many older men may rely upon a female companion, such as a spouse, in order to compensate for their comparative lack of social skills. 55 Research has also found that women are more likely than men to self-report having a best friend.:
In Western cultures, friendships are often seen as lesser to familial or romantic.When discussing taboos of friendship it was found that Chinese respondents found more than their British counterparts.
Friendship is found among animals of higher intelligence, such as higher mammals and some birds. Cross-species friendships are common between humans and domestic animals. Cross-species friendships may also occur between two non-human animals, such as dogs and cats.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents often notice signs during the first three years of their child's life. These signs often develop gradually, though some autistic children experience worsening in their communication and social skills after reaching developmental milestones at a normal pace.
Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but differs from other ASDs by relatively unimpaired language and intelligence. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language are common. Signs usually begin before two years of age and in many cases never resolve.
Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later. For example, puberty now typically begins during preadolescence, particularly in females. Physical growth and cognitive development can extend into the early twenties. Thus, age provides only a rough marker of adolescence, and scholars have found it difficult to agree upon a precise definition of adolescence.
Conduct disorder (CD) is a mental disorder diagnosed in childhood or adolescence that presents itself through a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate norms are violated. These behaviors are often referred to as "antisocial behaviors." It is often seen as the precursor to antisocial personality disorder, which is per definition not diagnosed until the individual is 18 years old. Conduct disorder is estimated to affect 51.1 million people globally as of 2013.
In sociology, a peer group is both a social group and a primary group of people who have similar interests (homophily), age, background, or social status. The members of this group are likely to influence the person's beliefs and behaviour. Peer groups contain hierarchies and distinct patterns of behavior. In a high school setting for example, 18 year olds are a peer group with 14 year olds because they share similar and paralleled life experiences in school together. In contrast, teachers do not share students as a peer group because teachers and students fall into two different roles and experiences.
Developmental disorders comprise a group of psychiatric conditions originating in childhood that involve serious impairment in different areas. There are several ways of using this term. The most narrow concept is used in the category "Specific Disorders of Psychological Development" in the ICD-10. These disorders comprise developmental language disorder, learning disorders, motor disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. In broader definitions ADHD is included, and the term used is neurodevelopmental disorders. Yet others include antisocial behavior and schizophrenia that begins in childhood and continues through life. However, these two latter conditions are not as stable as the other developmental disorders, and there is not the same evidence of a shared genetic liability.
A social skill is any competence facilitating interaction and communication with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning these skills is called socialization. Lack of such skills can cause social awkwardness.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders that begin in early childhood, persist throughout adulthood, and affect three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction and restricted patterns of behavior. There are many conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders such as fragile X syndrome and epilepsy.
Adolescent cliques are cliques that develop amongst adolescents. In the social sciences, the word "clique" is used to describe a group of 2 to 12 "who interact with each other more regularly and intensely than others in the same setting". Cliques are distinguished from "crowds" in that their members socially interact with one another more than the typical crowd. Crowds, on the other hand, are defined by reputation. Although the word 'clique' or 'cliquey' is often used in day-to-day conversation to describe relational aggression or snarky, gossipy behaviors of groups of socially dominant teenage girls, that is not always accurate. Interacting with cliques is part of normative social development regardless of gender, ethnicity, or popularity. Although cliques are most commonly studied during adolescence, they exist in all age groups.
High-functioning autism (HFA) is an autism classification where the patient exhibits no intellectual disability, but may exhibit deficits in communication, emotion recognition and expression, and social interaction. HFA is not included in either the American Psychological Association's DSM-5 or the World Health Organization's ICD-10, neither of which subdivides autism based on intellectual capabilities.
Child psychopathology refers to the scientific study of mental disorders in children and adolescents. Oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder are examples of psychopathology that are typically first diagnosed during childhood. Mental health providers who work with children and adolescents are informed by research in developmental psychology, clinical child psychology, and family systems. Lists of child and adult mental disorders can be found in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Edition (ICD-10), published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). In addition, the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood is used in assessing mental health and developmental disorders in children up to age five.
Relational aggression or alternative aggression is a type of aggression in which harm is caused by damaging someone's relationships or social status.
Autism therapies are interventions that attempt to lessen the deficits and problem behaviours associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in order to increase the quality of life and functional independence of individuals with autism. Treatment is typically catered to the person's needs. Treatments fall into two major categories: educational interventions and medical management. Training and support are also given to families of those with ASD.
A cross-sex friendship is a platonic relationship between two unrelated people. There are multiple types of cross-sex friendships, all defined by whether or not each party has a romantic attraction to each other, or perceives that the other is interested. A few theories have been developed to explain the existence of such friendships. Research has been done on why men and women initiate these relationships, how they are perceived by others, implications for children with cross-sex friendships, among others. Cross-sex friendships can also create problems for those involved if either or both have or ever had any romantic feelings for the other.
The empathising–systemising (E–S) theory is a theory on the psychological basis of autism and male–female neurological differences originally put forward by English clinical psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen. It classifies individuals based on abilities in empathic thinking (E) and systematic thinking (S). It measures skills using an Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systemising Quotient (SQ) and attempts to explain the social and communication symptoms in autism spectrum disorders as deficits and delays in empathy combined with intact or superior systemising.
Childhood gender nonconformity (CGN) is a phenomenon in which prepubescent children do not conform to expected gender-related sociological or psychological patterns, or identify with the opposite sex/gender. Typical behavior among those who exhibit the phenomenon includes but is not limited to a propensity to cross-dress, refusal to take part in activities conventionally thought suitable for the gender and the exclusive choice of play-mates of the opposite sex.
Emotional and behavioral disorders refer to a disability classification used in educational settings that allows educational institutions to provide special education and related services to students who have displayed poor social and/or academic progress.
Several factors complicate the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome (AS), an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Like other ASD forms, Asperger syndrome is characterized by impairment in social interaction accompanied by restricted and repetitive interests and behavior; it differs from the other ASDs by having no general delay in language or cognitive development. Problems in diagnosis include disagreement among diagnostic criteria, the controversy over the distinction between AS and other ASD forms or even whether AS exists as a separate syndrome, and over- and under-diagnosis for non-technical reasons. As with other ASD forms, early diagnosis is important, and differential diagnosis must consider several other conditions.
The autism spectrum encompasses a range of neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism and Asperger syndrome, generally known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Individuals on the autism spectrum experience difficulties with social communication and interaction and also exhibit restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. Symptoms are typically recognized between one and two years of age in boys. However, many children are not finally diagnosed until they are older. Final diagnosis could still be given as an adolescent or even as an adult. The term "spectrum" refers to the variation in the type and severity of symptoms. Those in the mild range may function independently, while those with moderate to severe symptoms may require more substantial support in their daily lives. Long-term problems may include difficulties in performing daily tasks, creating and keeping relationships, and maintaining a job.
Social emotional development represents a specific domain of child development. It is a gradual, integrative process through which children acquire the capacity to understand, experience, express, and manage emotions and to develop meaningful relationships with others. As such, social emotional development encompasses a large range of skills and constructs, including, but not limited to: self-awareness, joint attention, play, theory of mind, self-esteem, emotion regulation, friendships, and identity development.
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