Characteristics of friendships between children with and without mild disabilities

Sohyun Lee, Sunyoung Yoo, Sunhi Bak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Friendship is a very important component in human lives, but it is difficult for children with disabilities to make friends with their typical peers. This study investigated quality of play behaviors in friendships between children with and without disabilities and analyzed how typical peers perceive friendships with children with disabilities. Fifteen pairs of children with and without disabilities who chose each other as friends were selected in elementary regular classrooms. Fifteen pairs of children without disabilities and their normal friends were also selected. Each pair's play behaviors were observed twice for 30 minutes. Then children without disabilities were interviewed about their perception of friendship with their friends with disabilities. Results showed that play role and positive/neutral affect of dyads without and with disabilities was different from dyads of normal peers. Children without disabilities perceived children with disabilities as playing mates, but they noted that limitations in communication, as well as behavior problems made it difficult to maintain friendship. Future research directions were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalEducation and Training in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003


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