Summary of the School Context

It is typically assumed that family relationships—both the quality of these relationships and the level of parental guidance and monitoring—are the most important factors shaping adolescents' experiences of their friendships. However, such beliefs ignore the significant role of the school context (Rosenbloom & Way, 2004; Way et al., 2004; Way & Pahl, 2001). Both perceptions of teacher/student and student/student relationships in school appear to be significantly associated with the trajectories of perceived friendship quality over time even after considering the effect of family relationships. Moreoever, although no moderating effects of ethnicity/race in the association between perceptions of school climate and friendship quality were detected in our quantitative data, our qualitative interviews suggested that ethnicity/race plays a major role in the relational climate of the school (Rosenbloom & Way, 2004; Way et al., 2004). Thus, our quantitative and qualitative findings underscore the need for research examining the role of school climate (including the racial/ ethnic climate) in the quality and development of adolescent friendships.

The Polarity Path

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