An article in the British Journal of Psychology describes research into whether, and how, a single close supportive friendship may facilitate psychological resilience in socioeconomically vulnerable young people. The authors conclude that such friendships facilitate resilience, and that at least one close friendship helps adolescents craft meaning and strength amid substantial adversity.
A total of 409 participants aged 11 to 19 were recruited through three comprehensive secondary schools and two colleges in Yorkshire with deprived surrounding areas (n=394), and through an online mailing list for peer supporters (n=15). They completed self-reported measures of close friendship quality, psychological resilience, social support, and other resources. Findings revealed:
- There was a significant positive association between perceived friendship quality and resilience. This was facilitated through inter-related mechanisms of developing a constructive coping style (comprised of support-seeking and active coping), effort, a supportive friendship network, and reduced disengaged and externalizing coping.
- There were gender differences. Perceived friendship quality facilitated effort and friendship network support more strongly for boys than girls, and in contrast it promoted constructive coping more strongly for girls. Boys were more vulnerable to the harmful effects of disengaged and externalizing coping than girls.
The authors suggest a number of implications for practice, including:
- Practitioners might prioritize existing and emerging supportive adolescent friendships within resilience interventions
- Interventions might promote peer-based coping skills and self-efficacy
- Supportive peer friendships might be regularly included within assessments of psychosocial resources by clinicians and educators
Source :Graber, R., Turner, R., & Madill, A. (2016). Best friends and better coping: Facilitating psychological resilience through boys’ and girls’ closest friendships. British Journal of Psychology, 107(2), 338–358.