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Children's friendships and after -school program participation: Does participation in an after -school program affect the development and quality of children's friendships?

Sarah G Mitchell, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Abstract

This study compares children's friendship quality in after-school programs and regular school day classrooms. Participants were drawn from ten after-school program sites and a control group from ten elementary school classrooms. Three hundred and thirty six children in grades three, four and five were asked to describe their friendship experiences by identifying their friends using a program or class roster and completing a questionnaire about the quality of their very best friendship. Friendship quality information was compared in six areas: companionship and recreation, validation and caring, help and guidance, intimate disclosure, conflict resolution, and conflict and betrayal. Findings showed a significance difference in the quality of friendships based on student age, gender, friendship level and whether the student attended an after-school program. Results supported the hypothesis that students in high-quality after-school programs have higher quality friendships than children in low quality programs. Findings did not support the hypothesis that children in after-school programs have higher quality friendships than children who do not participate in after-school programs. Preliminary evidence suggests that after-school programs have both a higher number of children with challenging behaviors and a higher number of children who receive special education services as compared to school day classrooms. This difference in population may account for the friendship quality difference between the after-school program group and the control group. ^

Subject Area

Education, Sociology of|Psychology, Social|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Sarah G Mitchell, "Children's friendships and after -school program participation: Does participation in an after -school program affect the development and quality of children's friendships?" (January 1, 2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. Paper AAI3179906.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI3179906

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