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Switzerland: poverty and friendship

Children in low-income families have fewer opportunities to make friends, research suggests.

Data from 4787 children aged between 14 and 15 in 235 classes was analysed. Researchers examined participants’ friendship networks in their class, participants’ household income, and average household income for the class.

Findings suggested that young people from low-income families were less likely to attract or maintain friendships. This was true even in classes with a high number of poorer students.

Authors suggest one reason for this could be that poorer families have less money for sports or hobbies, creating less opportunities to make friends outside of school. Other factors could include greater psychosocial stress due to poverty or difficult family situations, affecting their behaviour.

Lead author Isabel Raabe believes schools need to create more opportunities for children to make friends. She said that ‘teachers could take the socio-economic mix into account when planning seating arrangements and groups for project work, or schools could offer mixed-class afternoon activities and sports.’

Image | Unsplash


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