Friendships in Childhood and Adolescence

Catherine L. Bagwell and Michelle E. Schmidt

Paperbacke-bookprint + e-book
January 10, 2013
ISBN 9781462509607
Price: $39.00
389 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Copyright Date: 2011
September 12, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $39.00
389 Pages
Copyright Date: 2011
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $78.00 $42.90
389 Pages

Highly readable and comprehensive, this volume explores the significance of friendship for social, emotional, and cognitive development from early childhood through adolescence. The authors trace how friendships change as children age and what specific functions these relationships play in promoting adjustment and well-being. Compelling topics include the effects of individual differences on friendship quality, how friendship quality can be assessed, and ways in which certain friendships may promote negative outcomes. Examining what clinicians, educators, and parents can do to help children who struggle with making friends, the book reviews available interventions and identifies important directions for future work in the field.

“A comprehensive and excellent volume….This book shows constant quality. It is clearly written and provides an up-to-date and critical account of the research literature in a language that makes it suitable for use as a textbook as well. The reader is well-served with regular summaries within chapters and concluding paragraphs after each chapter, in which future research directions are pointed out as well.”

European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

“This clearly written and well-organized book has many of the features of a good friend. It is engaging, helpful, satisfying, and always interesting. It remembers the past and has an eye to the future. Researchers, clinicians, and students will find the volume an indispensable source of companionship and inspiration.”

—William M. Bukowski, PhD, Department of Psychology and Director, Center for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Canada

“Good news! This is the most comprehensive volume written to date about friendships in childhood and adolescence. The book has a clear-cut developmental point of view and deals with both friendship dynamics and the significance of friendships in individual lives. The authors also present compelling research applications as well as ideas for future research dealing with these relationships.”

—Willard W. Hartup, EdD, Regents' Professor Emeritus, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

“This clear and authoritative book is a splendid resource for all those interested in children’s friendships—their drama and excitements, pleasures and problems. It covers a broad range of topics with exemplary thoroughness; where the research findings are inconsistent, the authors keep a sharp eye on the empirical evidence. The focus includes topics of clinical interest, such as attachment relationships, antisocial and aggressive behavior, deviance, and what is known from intervention studies. Most strikingly, the book highlights key questions raised by the research findings and by the gaps in what we know. This questioning approach makes it a stimulating read, of real value for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and their teachers.”

—Judy Dunn, PhD, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, United Kingdom

“This beautifully written book illuminates the ordinary magic of children's and adolescents' friendships. The book integrates diverse theoretical perspectives and the sprawling research literature on friendship in an accessible, engaging manner, with lively examples all along the way. It will be of great interest to everyone who seeks to understand children's friendships: researchers, clinicians, students of social development, educators, and all who desire to foster positive relationships between young people. It is also well suited as a text for undergraduate and graduate courses on social development and seminars on friendship and close relationships.”

—Marion K. Underwood, PhD, Ashbel Smith Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas

Table of Contents

I. The Nature of Friendship

1. What Is Friendship?

2. Studying Friendship

II. The Normative Experience of Friendship

3. The Developmental Significance of Friendship in Childhood

4. The Developmental Significance of Friendship in Adolescence

III. Individual Differences in the Experience of Friendship

5. The Individuals within a Friendship

6. Friendship Quality

IV. Implications and Looking Forward

7. Friendship and Culture, with Emily C. Jenchura

8. Friendship Intervention

9. The Significance of Friendship

About the Authors

Catherine L. Bagwell, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Her primary research interests are peer relationships in childhood and adolescence and the developmental significance of friendship. She is investigating the importance of having friends, friendship quality, and the characteristics of friends. Dr. Bagwell's interest in the peer relations of children with disruptive behavior disorders led to her second area of research, on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and the social and emotional correlates and outcomes that are associated with this disorder.

Michelle E. Schmidt, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She also serves as Director of Academic Leadership Programs. Her primary research interests include friendship, peer relationships, and peer victimization. Along with Dr. Bagwell, she is investigating the importance of having friends, friendship quality, and the characteristics of friends. Dr. Schmidt is also involved in two large studies of peer victimization—one in a group of high-risk public schools and the other in an independent school—studying children and adolescents from prekindergarten through the high school years.


Emily C. Jenchura, BS, Center for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA


Developmental and clinical psychologists and graduate students; also of interest to school psychologists and teacher educators.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in courses on peer relationships.