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Friendless children prone to depression

Researchers suggest teachers should build community to foster companionship

Elementary school teachers should take steps to build community in their classrooms to help foster friendships among their students, according to Concordia University psychologist William Bukowski and his research team. A study to be published in the journal Development and Psychopathology found that children who lack friends are prone to depression. “Over time, we found that withdrawn kids showed increasing levels of sadness and higher levels of depressive feelings,” Bukowski said. The researchers surveyed 130 boys and 101 girls over three years between grades three and five. They concluded that having even one friend can help children from having negative feelings escalate “throughout adolescence.”

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