Similarities between Friends and Nonfriends in Middle Childhood

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Abstract

Similarities were assessed between target children (mean age, 11.1 years) and their friends and nonfriends, respectively. One target child of each sex (N= 192), along with one same-sex friend and one nonfriend, were selected from 102 participating classrooms. “Guess who” nominations obtained within these classrooms were used to measure prosocial behavior, antisocial behavior, shyness/dependency, and sociometric status; self-reports were used to measure depressive symptoms. Children and their friends were more similar to one another than nonfriends across the entire data set—as the participants were rated by their classmates and as their classmates were rated by the participants. Friendship similarities varied from attribute to attribute, being greater in antisocial behavior than in the other domains. Similarities between friends in sociometric status and size of the friendship network were also greater among socially accepted than nonaccepted children.

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