Friendship is obviously one of the terms which in today’s world have a broad meaning of different people. However, it is best said in simple terms that a certain person with whom one is closely linked prefers. People who call one another’s friends are more interested, admirated, cared about and shared interests than they do. Where in mutual practice elements such as respect, confidence and integrity exist, there are stronger friendship ties that can therefore endure for a long period of time. Friendship in its most genuine form has inarguably become one of the rarest things to find in the 21st century. With the increase of commitments and people adapting to the latest social trends from their work places to homes emotional distance abounds even where people are physically close. Despite the rise and popularity of social media, the quality of such bonds has been in question as humans (being social beings as nature would have it) still struggle not only to find friends but also to maintain such associations. In the midst of such interplay of circumstances the occurrence of cases of loneliness sets in and also the struggle to have a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on becomes as real as the stars.
Loneliness on the other hand can be said to be a distressing experience which sets in when ones social associations lack in quantity and even worse in quality. It is not only in a situation where that one is physically away from people, but also where one is among a group of people but they still experience loneliness. Depressive symptoms, weak social support, and introversion stand among the issues which are associated with loneliness, however it is need not be solely tied to these symptoms. The person(s) of interest have a perception that their families, friends and even neighbors don’t value them; this may be the case of just a wild feeling in the person but the effects remain life changing! Research reveals that the increased use of social media has to a large extent lowered the possibility of people creating real friendships. It is showing all signs of being a public health issue, imagine a diner scene of an extended family, while some members are keen on eating as they talk hence bonding others are glued to their smartphones chatting. This simple example indicates the difficultly bonding among people owing to social media. Research points that loneliness may start as early as during the childhood days, children need friends so as not to develop antisocial behavior or worse physiological tendencies. As the world develops further into modernity, a challenge ensues, are we too busy chasing our career dreams at the expense of our social lives? A well balanced approach is the key to a happy and fulfilling life.
The research will be narrowing down on the question, “what is the impact of peer group relationships on the levels of loneliness among teenagers?” Whereas the hypothesis that is subject to testing is: “the quality of peer group relationships has a positive impact on the degree of loneliness among teenagers.” The study’s independent variables are the level of acceptance within the peer group, the quality of friendship within the peer group, and the degree of friendship satisfaction. On the other hand, the dependent variable is the level of loneliness while the constant variable is a person belonging to a peer group. The study’s associated acceptance levels give an indication of how much a teenager would like to hang out with members of his peer group. A unique scale stretching from one to five (friendship units) is used as an indicator of a teenager’s preference and like to spending most of his time among his peers. Also, a thirty question friendship quality questionnaire is to be used and the teenager of interest will be required to show the state of their friendship with a given friend. In order to establish whether or not the subject is satisfied with a given friendship, questions like; how is the friendship progressing? And what is the standard of happiness you are getting from the friendship? Are to be posed.
The target group of the research is brief described in the following passages, this aims at addressing the specific qualities of the audience so as to make the research as objective as possible. A group of 100 people will be used according to their age, race, economic status, gender and last but not least their religious affiliations.
This stands as one of the main issues shaping ones perception of their life and how they are to respond to the prevailing circumstances. The research will consider participants from both the black and white people equally. The key points of the research is to identify how factors like culture and upbringing (among others) of the children from these two races affects their friendships/loneliness and if yes, how?
The subject group of the study are teenagers, a group that lies within the age bracket of 13 and 19. This is the physiological growth age and more often than not teenagers find themselves with an urge to belong (“Stages of Adolescence – HealthyChildren.org,” n.d.). The tides of peer pressure hit hard and many end up perceiving their immediate surroundings in their own way.
The study will aim at looking at teenagers from both the upper and lower economic classes. This will help understand the effect the economic endowment has on the friendship making among the teenagers of all classes.
The gender preferences on friendship ties obviously differ thus the research will consider both boys and girls to create objectivity in the research. An in-depth understanding of the factors that affect social ties among each gender is to be established clearly.
The most suited approach to researching the topic of interest is the cross-sectional design approach. This is because there exists the need to look into one aspect among varying groups of people who have other similar characteristics. The studies carried out under Cross-sectional design are based on the observations that occur in different individuals at a certain period (Yin, 2015, p. 11). Manipulation of data by the researcher is thus not essential as they will only be needed to record observed data as opposed to conduction of an experiment; the design decribes elements which prevail in particular individuals but not to define any connection among them (Yin, 2015, p. 10). In this case at hand there is one dependent variable against some independent variables presented by the similarities of individuals subject to the study.
The research work done in this paper is descriptive in nature and it seeks to deduce the impact of peer group relationships on the levels of loneliness among teenagers. The collection of data was by filling of a 30 question friendship Quality Questionnaires; the target age of participants as per the aim of the study is 13-19 years (teenage age) with a 50% gender balance among the 100 participants scrutinized. Ones liking of spending time with their peers and the state of the friendship was indicated by the marking of a one to five scale of friendship units. Level of satisfaction of their friendships was deduced by answering two questions, how is the friendship progressing? And what is the standard of happiness you are getting from the friendship? (Whitehouse, Durkin, Jaquet, & Ziatas, 2009, p. 8). The exercise was made possible by the participation of seven high schools and three institutions of higher learning, colleges to be specific. The respondents filled the questionnaires using their computers and it was conducted by two graduates within thirty to sixty minutes. The teenagers who took part in the study were given small tokens of appreciation e.g. pens.
In a nutshell, friendship bonds need firm foundation through efficient social contact so as to ensure feelings of loneliness are a thing of the past. However, the continued use of social media platforms has consistently posed a great threat to making friendships and the youth are in greatest danger of leading lonely lives. We should think of striking a balance in our lives. So how exactly can the world achieve better friendships? The answer is quite simple, be the change agent in your social associations and remember the world starts with you!
Stages of Adolescence – HealthyChildren.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/Pages/Stages-of-Adolescence.aspx
Whitehouse, A. J., Durkin, K., Jaquet, E., & Ziatas, K. (2009). Friendship, loneliness and depression in adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of Adolescence, 32(2), 309-322. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.03.004
Yin, R. K. (2015). Case study research: Design and methods. London: Sage Publication.
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