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Whether adolescents were influenced by their friends to engage in problem behavior depended on how much they were exposed to those friends, and whether they and their friendship groups "fit in" at school.
Adults may find it particularly difficult to maintain meaningful friendships in the workplace.
", "By the Rules", "Caring and Sharing", and "Friends Through Thick and Thin." In adolescence, friendships become "more giving, sharing, frank, supportive, and spontaneous." Adolescents tend to seek out peers who can provide such qualities in a reciprocal relationship, and to avoid peers whose problematic behavior suggest they may not be able to satisfy these needs.
A study performed at the University of Texas at Austin examined over 9,000 American adolescents to determine how their engagement in problematic behavior (such as stealing, fighting, and truancy) was related to their friendships.
Findings indicated that adolescents were less likely to engage in problem behavior when their friends did well in school, participated in school activities, avoided drinking, and had good mental health.
The opposite was found regarding adolescents who did engage in problematic behavior.
This satisfaction is associated with an increased ability to accomplish activities of daily living, as well as a reduced decline in cognitive abilities, decreased instances of hospitalization, and better outcomes related to rehabilitation.
As family responsibilities and vocational pressures lessen, friendships become more important.
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Friendship has been studied in academic fields such as communication, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy.
Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles.
Among the elderly, friendships can provide links to the larger community, serve as a protective factor against depression and loneliness, and compensate for potential losses in social support previously given by family members.
Especially for people who cannot go out as often, interactions with friends allow for continued societal interaction.