Erdley’s research cited in Cincinnati Republic feature on children’s friendships

Research by Cynthia Erdley, a psychology professor at the University of Maine, was mentioned in a Cincinnati Republic article that argues preventing close friendships among children would do more harm than good. A study co-written by Erdley found that having at least one quality friend is more beneficial for children than being seen as “popular” with a wide circle of friends. Having a strong connection with a smaller group gives kids a sense of belonging in a group instead of just being one of many in a more shallow relationship, according to the article. The concept of being “popular” as outlined by the study was seen as more harmful to the sense of self-worth of a child, because they are often associated with negative perceptions, such as being a gossip or rude, to stay in a position of popularity. When a child has a close group of friends that encourage a sense of commitment, they have been shown to have a higher self-esteem as well as a better academic standing, the article states.