Publication Details

Webster, A. A. & Carter, M. (2013). Mutual liking, enjoyment and shared interactions in the closest relationships between children with developmental disabilities and peers in inclusive school settings. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 25 (4), 373-393.


Typically analysis of the characteristics of friendships is made on the basis of nomination of a friend or best friend, with the assumption that this nomination reflects actual friendship. While it is possible that this assumption may be valid in typically developing children, this may not be the case for relationships for students with developmental disabilities. The relationships of 16 students with developmental disabilities in grades 1 through 6 and their three closest peers were examined to determine if dyads engaged in behaviors associated with defining components of friendship (i.e. shared interaction, mutual enjoyment, mutual liking) from literature on typically developing children. Interviews were conducted with target students, as well as with their peers, parents and teachers. Interview data indicated that the majority of dyads engaged at least sometimes in behaviors related to each of the defining components of friendship and reported behaviors associated with these components were typically reported as mutual. Additionally, voluntary peer nomination of friends at the beginning of interviews corresponded well with the presence of characteristics of friendship but this was less so when peers needed to be asked directly whether a child with a disability was a friend.



Link to publisher version (DOI)