Friendships play a vital role in helping people get through substantial challenges in life, according to a new study

April 21, 2017, British Psychological Society
Credit: Vilem Skarolek/public domain

Friendships play a vital role in helping people get through substantial challenges in life, according to a new study.

Until now, little research has been carried out into the role friends and, in particular, best friends play in building to adversity—surviving and thriving in the face of difficult times.

The new preliminary study, by Dr Rebecca Graber, University of Brighton Senior Lecturer in Psychology, for the first time provides long-term statistical evidence of the enormous benefit these valued have on adults.

Dr Graber, who carried out the research whilst at the University of Leeds, recruited 185 adults through online , university events and community organisations supporting socially-isolated adults. Some 75 adults completed the questionnaire.

Participants completed assessments on psychological resilience, best friendship quality, coping behaviours and self-esteem. Participants then completed the same assessments one year later, to see how best friendship quality had impacted resilience processes over this period.

Dr Graber said: "These findings reveal that best friendships are a protective mechanism supporting the development of in , although the mechanisms for this relationship remain unclear.

"The study provides long-term statistical evidence, for the first time, of the vital role of these valued social relationships for developing resilience in a community-based adult sample, while posing open questions for just how best friendships facilitate resilience in this way."

These findings support previous research by Dr Graber, published last year, revealing that best friends facilitate resilience processes in socioeconomically vulnerable children.

Explore further: A supportive close friendship helps boys and girls overcome adversity

Related Stories

A supportive close friendship helps boys and girls overcome adversity

June 24, 2015
A single supportive close friendship can help young people from low-income backgrounds to thrive in challenging circumstances, according to a new University of Sussex study.

Best friends may help poor kids succeed

July 6, 2015
(HealthDay)—Children who grow up in poor neighborhoods face more obstacles in life, but new research suggests that having a best friend can help these kids succeed.

Young people with older friends can help reduce ageism

June 9, 2016
Young people are less likely to be ageist when their friends have friendships with older adults, research led by psychologists at the University of Kent has shown.

Resilience-based interventions could curb depression in LGBT youths

November 5, 2015
Previous research has found lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths are four times more likely to commit suicide compared to their straight peers. Members of this community usually are more stressed and depressed than ...

Recommended for you

Antidepressants are more effective than placebo at treating acute depression in adults, concludes study

February 22, 2018
Meta-analysis of 522 trials includes the largest amount of unpublished data to date, and finds that antidepressants are more effective than placebo for short-term treatment of acute depression in adults.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Researchers uncover novel mechanism behind schizophrenia

February 21, 2018
An international team of researchers led by a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine scientist has uncovered a novel mechanism in which a protein—neuregulin 3—controls how key neurotransmitters are released ...

Self-compassion may protect people from the harmful effects of perfectionism

February 21, 2018
Relating to oneself in a healthy way can help weaken the association between perfectionism and depression, according to a study published February 21, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Madeleine Ferrari from Australian ...

How people cope with difficult life events fuels development of wisdom, study finds

February 21, 2018
How a person responds to a difficult life event such as a death or divorce helps shape the development of their wisdom over time, a new study from Oregon State University suggests.

When it comes to our brains, there's no such thing as normal

February 20, 2018
There's nothing wrong with being a little weird. Because we think of psychological disorders on a continuum, we may worry when our own ways of thinking and behaving don't match up with our idealized notion of health. But ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.