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Helping Kids to Build Friendships Part One

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Bob Linder
Middle school students Carissa Simagna (left) and McKinzee Malott work together in the Peer Builder program run by Missouri State University's Dr. Leslie Echols.

Psychologist Dr. Leslie Echols conducts Fast Friends study.

One of the most important relationships in the life of tweens and teens is friendship. Having good friends and feeling a sense of belonging are crucial for a child’s development and identity formation.

How can tweens and teens foster positive friendships? Is there a way to encourage friendships across ethnic differences?

To find out, Dr. Leslie Echols of Missouri State University and Dr. Jerreed Ivanich of the University of Colorado conducted a study with middle school students. They used the 36 questions activity known as Fast Friends.

Echols, an associate professor of psychology who researches peer relations particularly in the school setting, shares more about the study.

Read the full audio transcript

A native of Malaysia, Emily moved to Springfield in 2010 and started working at Missouri State University in 2014. She’s currently the public relations specialist in the office of strategic communication. She has a BA in Mass Communications from Colorado State University-Pueblo and a Master of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
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