Say yes to single close friendships
Asingle supportive close friendship can help young people from low-income backgrounds to thrive in challenging circumstances. “Boys’ and girls’ best friendships are an important source of meaning and strength in the face of substantial adversity,” says Rebecca Graber from University of Sussex in Britain, who carried out a study to examine the same.
Previous research has linked challenges like good physical health, mental health, academic achievement and employment to involvement with peers and membership of larger friendship groups. But it hasn’t looked at whether young people’s best friendships could positively contribute to self-reliance, a balanced perspective on life, and the ability to make meaning from difficult circumstances.
In the new study, the researchers surveyed 409 students aged between 11 and 19 from three schools and two colleges in Yorkshire serving catchment areas with poor socioeconomic status.
The researchers found that both boys’ and girls’ best friendships facilitated effective ways of coping (such as planning, reframing an issue in a positive way and using emotional support) that helped them develop resilience to complex challenges.