Strong Friendships in Adolescence Could Offer a Long-Term Measure of Resilience

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

Good quality friendship has a significant impact on how young people affected by childhood trauma respond to social exclusion.

In a study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, researchers at the University of Birmingham showed that the quality of friendship among a cohort of 14-year-olds has a strong association with their ability to deal positively with social exclusion ten years later in early adulthood.

While social exclusion was the stressor to test resilient functioning—a long-term marker of resilience—used in the study, the research team argue that friendship is a strong indicator of a person’s overall resilient functioning, which they defined as an individual’s social, emotional and behavioral functioning in relation to the trauma that they have experienced.

Dr. Maria Dauvermann of the University’s School of Psychology and Institute for Mental Health said, “We would expect that everyone will have some problems with their mental health after any kind of stressful experience, at least in the short term. By using the definition of resilient functioning, we are taking a more sophisticated and dynamic approach that takes into account a whole range of different behavioral measures at different time points and in relation to the particular trauma severity that has been experienced.

In this longitudinal study, the researchers worked with a group of people aged 24 who had previously experienced childhood trauma and who also completed the Cambridge Friendship Questionnaire.

The questionnaire was completed by a cohort of 14-year-olds across 4 time points, with 1,238 participants completing the initial survey, and 436 remaining to complete the final survey at aged 24. Of this group, 62 people volunteered to take part in the brain imaging part of the study.

The results showed clearly that better friendship quality as reported in the Cambridge Friendship Questionnaire at age 14 and better resilient functioning at age 24, was strongly linked to a positive response to social inclusion, and therefore to better resilient functioning.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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