We all want our kids to have lots of nice friends at school. Having buddies in the classroom can take some of the sting out of dragging out of bed every morning to face a world of rules, schedules and tests. For a kid, having a laugh and connecting with friends at school can act as a much-needed social release valve amid the pressures inherent in all that learning.
But just as school friends can help a student feel happier in the classroom, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, say there might also be an academic benefit to such relationships.
A study of 629 Los Angeles 12th graders from ethnically diverse backgrounds found that the kids who had the highest grade point averages had more in-school friends than out-of-school-friends. This was determined after evaluating questionnaires and logs in which the students recorded their daily activities, including time spent studying and socializing with in-school and out-of-school friends.
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, concludes that regardless of gender or ethnicity, in-school friends have a positive impact on each other because they are more likely to share the same school-related interests and activities and be more achievement-oriented in general.
However, this isn’t to say that out-of-school friendships should be discouraged. Lead researcher Melissa R. Witkow says that all friendships are important when it comes to fulfilling social needs, but those that revolve around an academic setting may just have an added benefit.
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