Measuring the Friendships of Young Children With Disabilities: A Review of the Literature

Lori E. Meyer, Michaelene M. Ostrosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to describe what has been learned over the past 35+ years of research on the friendships of young children with disabilities. An extensive literature review was conducted to critically examine the purposes that guided the friendship studies, the methods used to measure friendships, and the major findings of these studies. A total of eight studies were identified. The results of this review revealed that across all studies, researchers relied on the identification of children’s existing friendships to address their main research questions. However, researchers did not always operationally define the construct of friendship they were measuring, and the methods they used to identify friendships varied widely across all studies. Gaps in the literature and implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-196
Number of pages11
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Assessment
  • Friendship
  • Inclusion
  • Literature review
  • Social competence
  • Social development


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