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Title: Close friendships and the development of psychological resilience across the lifespan : a dual cohort study
Author: Graber, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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In a novel contribution to the literature, this research employs a social psychological approach to the meaning, import and impact of a single, supportive close friendship upon experiences and processes underpinning resilience in socioeconomically vulnerable adolescents, using a conceptual comparison with adults. A critical literature review interrogating the concept of subjective psychological resilience demonstrates the need to investigate the potential protective role of a single close friendship. The thesis uses a pragmatic mixed methods approach employing the complementary strengths of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. First, a cross-sectional correlational study of 409 socioeconomically vulnerable adolescents aged 11-19 years uses structural equation modelling analyses to develop an Adolescent Friendship and Resilience Model. A supportive close friendship is revealed to contribute to psychological resilience processes in these boys and girls, particularly by facilitating constructive coping. A longitudinal correlational study of 121 of these adolescents shows effects did not persist over one year. Longitudinal analysis of variance with this sample shows differences between resilience-promotion and risk-reduction as distinct resources are developed or attenuated along adolescents’ trajectories of increasing or decreasing risk. Next, a longitudinal correlational design and analysis of variance within a community sample of 75 adults aged 35-55 explores developmental components to the relationship between friendship and resilience. A single close friendship is shown to facilitate resilience, although explanatory mechanisms are unclear. Finally, analysis of semi-structured interviews with 14 socioeconomically vulnerable adolescents using a novel combination of thematic analysis and empirical phenomenology reveals interlinked experiences of close friendship and resilience support as spatial. The distinct studies are interweaved into a coherent understanding of the relationship between close friendships and psychological resilience. The research extends and re-conceptualises understandings of psychological resilience amongst socioeconomically vulnerable adolescents and over the lifespan, showing the capacities of a single close friendship to nourish strength, meaning, and growth.
Supervisor: Madill, Anna ; Turner, Rhiannon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available