NAVIGATE: Navigating Through Secondary School: The Role of Friends and Parents

Friendships play a significant role in development, especially during the challenging transition from primary school to middle school.

Successful adjustment is predicated on participation in successful friendships. As children navigate the difficult transition from primary school to secondary school, they rely on friends for support, companionship, and guidance. However, children suffer in the absence of friends, and studies show that depression, anxiety, and victimization are common among the friendless. Friendlessness arises not only from the inability to make friends but also from the failure to retain them. Yet conclusions about friendship instability must be tempered by limitations inherent in a literature dominated by two-wave longitudinal studies. How and why friendships end is not well understood. Equally unclear are the effects of friendship dissolution and the circumstances in which it threatens well-being.

The main goal of the NAVIGATE is to identify antecedents for and consequences of friendship dissolution. In order to achieve this aim, the study will be implemented in a two-step procedure: (1) Identify the antecedents of friendship dissolution, and (2) describe the adjustment consequences of friendship dissolution.

The main activities of the project are:

  • Data collection. During 2,5 years, seven waves of data in adolescents sample and four waves of data in selected sample of parents will be collected.
  • Data analysis. Data analysis is divided into separate sub-aims:
    • Describe the relative importance of dyadic dissimilarity and individual attributes in the prediction of friendship dissolution.
    • Determine whether and how changes in dyadic dissimilarity and changes in individual adjustment and perceptions of relationship quality predict friendship dissolution.
    • Describe the adjustment correlates of friendship loss for children who do and do not become friendless.
    • Identify characteristics of friends and friendships that modulate individual responses to friendship loss.

The 7-wave longitudinal study will examine the longitudinal effects of early peer relationships and emotional and behavioral functioning in childhood. The study is seeking to contribute to public health and improve the lives of many children who suffer from peer difficulties by providing parents, teachers, and other professionals with a better understanding of why friendships dissolve, who is most likely to suffer from friendship loss or benefit from successful relationships and how to help children.

About the project directly from researchers

This project has received funding from European Social Fund (project No 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-17-0009) under grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT).