ERIC Number: EJ942166
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
Concepts of Real and Imaginary Friendships in Early Childhood
Gleason, Tracy R.; Hohmann, Lisa M.
Social Development, v15 n1 p128-144 Feb 2006
This investigation focused on the friendship concepts of pre-school-aged children. Eighty-four 3- to 5-year-old children responded to questions about social provisions, or benefits of relationships, available from reciprocal friends (both children in a pair nominate each other as friends), unilateral friends (one child nominates the other), non-friends (neither child of a pair nominates the other), and imaginary friends (for those who had them). Results indicated that reciprocal and imaginary friends were the best sources of social provisions, followed by unilateral friends and non-friends. Major implications are that children draw distinctions between reciprocal and unilateral friends based on the levels of social provisions available in these relationships, and that relationship schemas underlying relationships with imaginary companions may be akin to those for reciprocal friends. Children's friendship schemata may also differ by gender, as girls discriminated more than boys between reciprocal and unilateral friends for the social provision of companionship.
Descriptors: Friendship, Imagination, Preschool Children, Schemata (Cognition), Gender Differences, Interpersonal Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: N/A