by News in Mind: http://www.newsinmind.com/general-news/all-it-takes-is-one-good-friend-to-foster-resilience
A new study shows that a single supportive close friendship can help
young people from low-income backgrounds thrive in challenging
Young people from low-income areas typically face substantial
challenges to good physical health, mental health, academic achievement,
and employment, noted Dr. Rebecca Graber, a psychologist at the
University of Sussex in England.
While previous research looked at larger friendship groups, the new
study examined whether young people’s best friends could positively
contribute to resilience, including self-reliance, a balanced
perspective on life, and the ability to make meaning from difficult
For the new study, Graber, working with Professor Rhiannon Turner
from Queen’s University in Belfast and Professor Anna Madill from the
University of Leeds, surveyed 409 students between the ages of 11 and 19
from three schools and two colleges in Yorkshire. The schools were in
areas with poor socioeconomic status.
The students completed psychological assessments of the quality of
their closest friendship, their resilience in the face of adverse
experiences, and how they typically coped with problems. 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.
But the study’s findings also uncovered a significant gender
difference. While girls’ best friendships had a slight tendency to
promote risky and ineffective ways of coping with adversity, such as
self-blame and substance use, boys’ best friendships did not.
“Research into promoting resilience in young people has concentrated
on support from the family, but friendships are important too,” Graber
said. “Boys’ and girls’ best friendships are an important source of
meaning and strength in the face of substantial adversity.”
“There has also been almost a distrust of friendship between boys,
with research concentrating on the negative side of belonging to a
gang,” she continued. “But that isn’t the whole story. Our research
suggests that boys’ best friendships may be intimate, trustworthy and
supportive, even as they face social pressures towards a stoic or macho
The study was published in the British Journal of Psychology.
This article first appeared on ‘Psych Central’ on 28 June 2015.