The three-year study, reported in the journal Development and Psychopathology, involved a total of 130 girls and 101 boys in the third and fifth grades. It found that peers typically reject those kids with poorer social skills or perceived as overly aggressive or immature.
Researchers also found that friends can serve as a form of protection against sadness for our kids. Put another way, your child's pals can protect at-risk children from depression and anxiety.
Lead author, William M. Bukowski, states: "The long-term effects of being a withdrawn child are enduringly negative. Over time, we found that withdrawn kids showed increasing levels of sadness and higher levels of depressive feelings. Having one friend can be protective for withdrawn or shy kids. Our study confirms the value of having friends, which are like a shield against negative social experiences."