Just because your kids are still in school, it doesn’t mean that they don’t experience their fair share of stress. Luckily, a new study published in the journal Developmental Psychology shows that they don’t have to deal with it alone. According to research from Concordia University, kids who have friends with them when they experience negative situations are able to handle the pressure better.

"Having a best friend present during an unpleasant event has an immediate impact on a child's body and mind," says William M. Bukowski, co-author of the study and a psychology professor and director of the Concordia Centre for Research in Human Development.

To test the theory, researchers studied over a hundred fifth and sixth graders from Montreal, Canada--55 boys and 48 girls. They were asked to keep journals for four days and participated in regular saliva tests to monitor cortisol levels; cortisol is a hormone that is associated with stress.

The results showed that having friends around did help control kids' cortisol levels. This is definitely good news and presents physiological benefits of friendship as well as psychological ones. After all, when cortisol levels become too high, they contribute to immune suppression and decreased bone formation.

As parents, perhaps you can encourage your kids to make more friends. Be there for them when you think they’re dealing with a negative situation. You can’t always fight their battles, but you can at least be there to support them.


For more on friendship, read these on FN:


For more in raising healthy kids, check these out:

(Photo by Lance Shields via Flickr Creative Commons)

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