Adolescents Experience of Friendships

Relatedly, a second limitation to the friendship literature is a failure to consider adolescents' actual friendship experiences. This is surprising given the fact that the degree to which adolescents attach importance to various traits and behaviors will likely vary by the extent that they (1) are exposed to various norms and values in the larger society and (2) associate with peers who come from differing racial/ethnic backgrounds (Aboud, 1987). Thus, although many researchers have argued that people tend to make distinct causal attributions for similar behaviors (Triandis, 1976; Triandis, Vassiliou, Vassiliou, Tanaka, & Shanmungan, 1972), the ever-increasing diversity of schools and other significant socializing contexts encountered by adolescents (e.g., neighborhood/community) will likely impact adolescent experiences of friendships. This is especially true given that over the course of adolescence, friends increase significantly in importance (Blyth, Hill, & Thiel, 1982; Brown, Eicher, & Petrie, 1986), with most free time spent in the company of peers (Csikszentmihalyi & Larson, 1984), from both in-and out-of-school contexts (Blyth et al., 1982; Montemayor & Van Komen, 1980). Understanding the extent to which variations in cultural (e.g., ethnicity, race, immigration history, SES, gender etc.) beliefs and values interact with other socializing agents to shape the friendship experiences of ethnically and socioeconomically diverse groups of adolescents is clearly warranted.

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