Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph C. LaVoie

Second Advisor

Roni Reiter-Palmon

Third Advisor

Bridgette O. Ryalls


Although the amount of research conducted on children’s friendships is large, the specific characteristic of friendship commitment has received little attention to date. At what age and to what extent commitment is present in children’s friendships is the main focus of this study. Students in grades 2 through 7 completed a demographic questionnaire, the Commitment and Satisfaction Scale, the Children’s Self-Efficacy for Peer Interaction Scale, The Network of Relationships Inventory, and they also responded to hypothetical vignettes. Of particular interest were the effects of children’s age, gender, friendship reciprocity, self-efficacy and friendship satisfaction on their friendship commitment levels. Analyses of variance and regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationships between these variables. While children as young as 7 displayed commitment in their friendships, commitment levels did not vary as a function of age. However, the ability to articulate an understanding of commitment did increase with age. Levels of friendship commitment were higher for females than males. Children in reciprocal friendships displayed higher levels of commitment than those in nonreciprocal relationships. Level of friendship satisfaction as well as a child’s feelings of self-efficacy were found to be significant predictors of friendship commitment levels. The findings which suggest that very young children are capable of experiencing commitment in their friendships are new to the field of friendship research. Therefore, it is important that in future research both the quality and the predictors of commitment in these very young friendships are considered.

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Psychology Commons