Online Program

How does friendship influence childhood well-being and positive behaviors?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christine Schurawel, Health Sciences, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
Enrique Ortega, PhD MPH, Health Sciences, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
Giulia Zucchetti, Developmental Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Emanuela Rabaglietti, PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Background: Studies have shown that childhood friendships are important for healthy social development and well-being. The purpose of this study was to investigate which friendship practices were associated with the development of pro-social behaviors, emotional instability, and aggressiveness among a sample of Italian children. Methods: The sample consisted of 334 children (48% boys, 52% girls) who were 8 to 10 years old (M=9.38; SD=0.89) attending the second (30%), third (53%) and fourth (17%) grades of primary schools in urban and suburban areas of northern Italy. Linear regressions were used to explore the associations of among our variables of interest utilizing three waves of data. Age, gender, and baseline measures were used as covariates in the analysis. Results: Results indicated that concurrent emotional instability was positively associated with conflict (β = 0.67, p < 0.001). Likewise Aggression was concurrently associated with conflict (β = .78, p < 0.001) and negatively associated with intimacy (β = -.19, p < 0.05). Finally pro-social behaviors were concurrently positively associated with intimacy (β = .25, p < 0.001), security (β = .14, p < 0.001) receiving help (β = .17, p < 0.001), and negatively associated with conflict (β = -0.10, p < 0.001). No longitudinal associations were identified. Conclusions: Such findings could assist program planners in the development of programs that enhance positive friendship practices for the development of childhood wellbeing. Further investigation is needed which could further enhance our understanding of the role that friendship has on behavioral problems.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify childhood friendship practices associated with positive development. Explain possible antecedents of childhood pro-social behaviors. Differentiate possible US and European childhood well-being correlates.

Keyword(s): Well-Being, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research assistant for a research group that has received funding for multiple project grants and which has a strong record of peer reviewed publications in the area of child and adolescent health behaviors. My scientific interests concern the topics under consideration in this abstract, Parenting and Youth Alienation, which are the basis for my statistical and research methods training. I am responsible to prepare this research for a scientific peer reviewed manuscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.