ERIC Number: ED332813
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
How Friends Influence Adolescents' Adjustment to School.
Berndt, Thomas J.; Keefe, Keunho
A short-term longitudinal study investigated theoretical perspectives on friends' influences and compared the influence of a student's closest friend with that of several close friends. Participants were 297 seventh and eighth graders in junior high schools in small towns or rural areas adjacent to a medium-sized city. Measures obtained in the fall and spring of a school year provided data on students' involvement in school, the frequency with which they were disruptive in class, names of their best friends, and positive and negative features of their friendships. Questions about positive features dealt with the friends' prosocial behavior and emotional support, and the intimacy of the friendships. Questions about negative features dealt with the frequency of conflicts and rivalry or unpleasant competition between friends. Students' English and mathematics teachers rated their involvement and disruptive behavior. Findings indicated that friends influence one another's attitudes and behavior so that the friends become increasingly similar over time. Adolescents' adjustment to school was affected by the features of their friendships. Correlations based on multiple friendships were often larger than those based on the closest friendship. Findings suggest that measures based on several friendships are more reliable than those based on one friendship, but researchers can expect to get comparable results from both types of measures. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).