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Publication Detail
‘Best friends forever’? Friendship stability across school transition and associations with mental health and educational attainment
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Ng-Knight T, Shelton KH, Riglin L, Frederickson N, McManus IC, Rice F
  • Publisher:
    John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    British Journal of Educational Psychology
  • Status:
    Published online
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    friendships, school transition, mental health, academic attainment, conduct problems
BACKGROUND: British Journal of Educational Psychology AIMS: To explore rates of friendship stability and whether maintaining a stable best friend across the primary to secondary school transition provided benefits to children's adjustment during this period. SAMPLE: Data were from 593 children (M age = 11 years 2 months). METHODS: This study used longitudinal data from children transitioning into 10 UK secondary schools and explored the association between self‐reported friendship stability and three outcomes: academic attainment, emotional problems and conduct problems. Analyses controlled for friendship quality and pre‐transition psychological adjustment or attainment as appropriate. RESULTS: Rates of friendship stability were relatively low during this period. Children who kept the same best friend had higher academic attainment and lower levels of conduct problems. Exploratory analyses indicated that secondary school policies that group children based on friendships may support friendship stability. CONCLUSIONS: Helping maintain children's best friendships during the transition to secondary school may contribute to higher academic performance and better mental health.
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