Abstract

We asked 27 Euro American teens ages 16 to 17 with developmental disabilities in Los Angeles to describe friendships. Eleven characteristics of friendship reported in the research literature (similarity, proximity, transcending context, companionship, reciprocity, mutuality, intimacy, support, trust/loyalty, conflict management, and stability) were mentioned by at least some teens. However, most teens focused on companionship, doing activities across contexts, similarity in interests/personality, sheer proximity, and stability. Gender did not influence number or types of themes reported. Teens with higher IQ/Vineland Communication scores mentioned more friendship themes and were less positive about their friendships. Most teens reported some satisfying friendships, and friendships between peers with developmental disability usually were more stable and positive than friendships with typically developing peers.

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