Quality and Quantity of Friendship: Students' and Teachers' Perceptions

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Few studies have examined the quality and the quantity of friendship as reported by students and teachers. In the present report, the author examined 121 adolescent students with mild mental retardation (MR) studying in special education schools, 189 students studying in self-contained classes in mainstreamed schools, and 265 nondisabled students, compared with 50 teacher reports. Results indicated significant differences in the perception of friendship between the groups. Students with MR in special schools have mentioned fewer definitions of a close friend, tended to have fewer friends, and engage in fewer leisure activities or in activities inappropriate to their age group. Some of them felt isolated, rejected or ignored in the classroom or in school, compared with students in the other groups. The teachers estimate that the students with MR in special education schools are more popular at school but lonelier at home. The two sources of information validated one another and add information to the quality of friendships in the groups' studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-280
Number of pages16
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2000


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