According to Gottman and Parker, child psychology theorists, there are six important functions to adolescent friendships. When a child lacks a function in a friendship they will experience confusion and conflict. They will feel lacking of something but without the ability to comprehend the source of their frustration they will lash out in a variety of ways. This often avoids the true issue considering friendships are the foundation of adolescent life.
The six functions theorized are as follows:
Resources include: Gottman, J.M., & Parker, J.G. (Eds.). (1987). Conversations of friends. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Companionship - The friend provides a partner to spend time with and share in group activities.
- Stimulation - The friend provides someone with knowledge, amusement, and excitement.
- Physical support - The friend provides time and resources.
- Ego support - The friendship gives support and encouragements as well as feedback that help develop the child's sense of competency, self-image, and self-worth.
- Social comparison - The friend informs and rates others in comparison fashion as well as the status of others
- Intimacy/affection - The friend is a warm and trusting individual that engages in a relationship of self-disclosure.