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Critical commentary/child development - Essay Example

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Name and Number of the Course Date The Development of Companionship and Intimacy by Duane Buhrmester and Wyndol Furman, 1987 Introduction “Friendships can be defined as relationships that satisfy a number of specified social needs, for example, companionship, intimacy, and affection” (Bukowski et al…
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Critical commentary/child development
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Critical commentary/child development

Among children, spending time together may be based on social preference or proximity; while playing together and having fun is a result of companionship (Bukowski et al. 1998, 74). Intimacy is defined as the outcome of a mutual, emotion-based relationship that is rooted in “reciprocal caring, closeness and involvement between equals” (Bagwell and Schmidt 2013, 77). Different relationships have differing dimensions of intimacy with distinctive characteristics. However, self-disclosure is a crucial component promoting closeness and commitment in all intimate friendships. Although companionship and intimacy develop from early childhood, during the transition to adolescence there is “an expansion in adolescents’ social networks as girls and boys increasingly turn to peers for intimacy, emotional support, and companionship” (Updegraff et al. 2002, 72). Thesis Statement: The purpose of this essay is to critique the target article by Buhrmester and Furman (1987), with respect to its important components. Two main arguments or points of critiques will be selected, and the validity of the claims will be determined with the help of relevant literature. 1. Summary of the Target Article The aim of the study by Buhrmester and Furman (1987) was to investigate the development of companionship and intimacy during early childhood, preadolescence and adolescence. The subjects were in the second, fifth, and eighth grades, with respective mean ages of 7.5, 10.4, and 13.4 years. Measuring the subjects’ assessment of companionship and intimacy at two levels; at the global level, subjects reported about their social relations in general. At the dyadic level, they reported about relations with up to eight specific people considered to be closest. Further, perceived frequency ratings assessed their perceptions of actual experience of companionship and intimacy. Results from the questionnaires indicate that in all the 3 grade levels companionship was perceived as a desired social provision. Family members were important providers of companionship for children in the second and fifth grades; but were less significant in the eighth grade. Starting with the second grade, same-sex peers were increasingly important providers of companionship; However, importance of companionship with opposite sex peers began from the eighth grade, state Buhrmester and Furman (1987). Similar to companionship, there were no age differences in the general/ global desire for intimacy. For the youngest children of mean age 7.5 years, parents were perceived as important providers of intimate disclosure, but were less important among preadolescents of mean age 10.4. The hypothesis of same-sex friends becoming important providers of intimacy during pre-adolescence was only partly supported by the evidence indicating that girls sought intimate disclosure at younger ages than boys. 2. Examining the Validity of the Main Points of Critiques 2.1. Summary of the Core Theory in the Target Article The main theory behind the work by Buhrmester and Furman (1987, 1101), is that of children’s social development. Companionship and intimacy are vital for the normal psycho-social development of children of all ages, and for all individuals through the life span. The criteria of companionship, intimacy and affection are also rooted in a theory of adult friendships (Bukowski et al. 1998, 74). Similarly, Sullivan’ ... Read More
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