Beyond relationship reciprocity: A consideration of varied forms of children's relationships

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Abstract

The present research extends the use of a new scheme for classifying children's peer relationships that (a) jointly evaluates friendship and antipathy nominations and (b) includes nonreciprocated friend and antipathy nominations. Findings revealed that 12.1% of all classroom dyads (total dyads = 2,313) were unbalanced relationships, in which one child perceived a friendship but was disliked by the other child. Furthermore, having high frequencies of “befriending but disliked” relationships was associated with poor social competence and having high frequencies of “disliking but befriended” relationships was associated with good social competence. Results support the use of this new classification scheme by highlighting the common nature of unbalanced relationships and by establishing the association of unbalanced relationships to peer social competence outcomes.

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