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Do poorer youth have fewer friends? The role of household and child economic resources in adolescent school-class friendships
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, Sweden.
Number of Authors: 2
2015 (English)In: Children and youth services review, ISSN 0190-7409, E-ISSN 1873-7765, Vol. 57, 201-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Poverty among children and adolescents attracts considerable research interest, and many are concerned with the potential consequences of poverty for children's well-being and development. Research is however lacking on the consequences of economic hardship for children's social relations. This article asks whether adolescents with a lack of economic resources have fewer school-class friends than others, something we would expect given the modern view of poverty as a lack of economic resources that has negative social consequences. We take a child-centred perspective in explicitly acknowledging the role of the child's own economic and material resources alongside the more traditional measurement of parental incomes, and we use sociometric (network) data to assess children's school-class friendships. We find that adolescents with the lowest family incomes and those who often miss out on activities due to a lack of economic resources receive on average fewer friendship nominations and are more likely to experience social isolation in the school class. Access to an own room is also of some importance for the number of friends. These results point towards the importance for adolescents' social relations of having the economic and material possibilities to participate in the social life and in activities undertaken by peers. The estimated effects of household income and of students' own economic situation are largely independent of each other, suggesting that the common practice of assessing child economic conditions through parental income gives an incomplete picture. We suggest that policies directly targeting children's activities and social participation may be a relatively direct and cost-effective way of reducing the impact of economic resources and greatly improve the everyday lives of many adolescents and promote their social inclusion. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 57, 201-211 p.
Keyword [en]
Child poverty, Economic resources, Child-reported data, Social relations, Network data, Sociometric data, Adolescents, Youth
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122247DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.08.013ISI: 000362131200023OAI: diva2:866392
Available from: 2015-11-02 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2015-11-02Bibliographically approved

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Hjalmarsson, SimonMood, Carina
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