Friendship Quality in Youth Disability Sport: Perceptions of a Best Friend

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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The purpose of the current investigation was to examine friendship quality with a best friend in youth disability sport with an international sample of moderately experienced athletes with disabilities ages 9 to 18 years. Participants were 85 males and 65 females from four countries who competed in track and field and swimming. Data were collected with the Sport Friendship Quality Scale (Weiss & Smith, 1999). An exploratory factor analyses indicated that participants viewed their friendship quality with a best friend in disability sport as having both positive and negative dimensions. The latter focused exclusively on conflict experiences. Females reported stronger perceptions of the benefits of their friendships than males did; whereas no gender differences occurred in perceptions of the negative aspects to friendships. Item analyses indicated that females scored higher than males on questions reflecting loyalty, providing intimacy, self-esteem, supportiveness, having things in common, and playing together.

Jeffrey Martin is with the Division of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 266 Matthaei Building, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202. Email: <aa3975@wayne.edu>. Kerry Smith is with Dept. of Human Movement and Exercise Science at the University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009.

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