Sofia Kouvava, Friendship relations among primary school pupils with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Προσχολική & Σχολική Εκπαίδευση, 4|2016, 276-290

Friendship is a dyadic relationship between two individuals, based on mutual affection and reciprocity. It is a voluntary bond co-created by two friends who expect to share an intimate, mutually rewarding experience with commitment, support and validation. In childhood, friends serve as playmates; in adolescence, they are viewed as confidants who provide emotional closeness. Having friends seems to mitigate the consequences of peer rejection and buffer against adjustment problems. Friendships vary in quality and stability. Regarding quality, some friendships possess positive features, such as validation, caring and trust, while others have negative features, such as conflict, antagonism and competition. Regarding stability, although the average friendship lasts for about one year, significant variability exists. Children with ADHD often experience peer relationship difficulties, mainly due to their social skills deficits. Research evidence suggests that the majority of children with ADHD have no reciprocated friends and that their friendships are less stable and of lower quality, while they prefer to be friends with other children with the same disorder. Research evidence looking at friendships and friendship quality of ADHD pupils attending inclusive settings is limited.  This study examines friendships and perceptions of friendship quality of children with and without ADHD, attending inclusive public primary schools in Greece. Data regarding friendship stability and other characteristics of friendships of pupils with ADHD were also collected. One hundred and two typically developing children and22 children diagnosed with ADHD (mean age =9.51, s.d.= 1.30, age range: 8 to 12 years), named their friend(s) and their very best friend, using a sociometric nomination procedure; additionally, children responded to the Greek version of the Friendship Quality Questionnaire. Moreover, variables such as the number of the participants’ mutual friends, their friends’ characteristics and friendship duration were examined. The participating children were informed of the purpose of the study and were given appropriate instructions for completing the questionnaires individually. Data collection took place at pupils’ schools and children were engaged for approximately 30 minutes. The results showed that the majority of pupils with ADHD had few friends and even fewer mutual friendships than their typically developing peers. An interesting result of the present study, not in line with previous research evidence, is that ADHD children do not choose peers with disabilities to be their friends. Friendships of children with ADHD, as compared to those of typically developing peers, were of short duration. However, both ADHD children and their peers tend to attribute positive features to their friendships which are characterized by intimacy and support. Taking into consideration the importance of friendships in one’s life, as well as the fact that this research area has attracted little attention in Greece, further investigation is required.

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