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2011. Vol.2, No.8, 875-888
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. DOI:10.4236/psych.2011.28133
Children Friendship: The Role of Hope in Attributions, Emotions
Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Western Macedonia, Florina, Greece
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received August 24th, 2011; revised September 27th, 2011; accepted October 28th, 2011.
This research aimed to examine 1) children’s attributions and emotions for their subjectively perceived friend-
ships with their best friends as positive or negative, 2) the role of children’s hope (pathways thinking, agency
thinking) in the generation of their perception of their friendships as positive or negative, in the formulation of
the subsequent attributions and emotions, and in the impact of attributions on emotions, and 3) the effects of
hope in the interactive impact of attributions and emotions on friendship expectations. The participants were 322
children, both gender, 5th and 6th grades, representing various parental socioeconomic levels. The results
showed that the perceived satisfactory friendships were mainly attributed to internal, and self-friend interactive
internal and controllable factors, while the estimated as non satisfactory friendships were predominately attrib-
uted to stable, friend’s controllable and internal, and self-friend interactive internal factors. The children experi-
enced intense positive and negative emotions for their perceived satisfactory and non satisfactory friendships,
respectively. Hope (mostly, agency thinking) positively influenced the generation of the perceived quality of the
friendship, the subsequent attributions (particularly, stability) and emotions, and the impact of attributions on
emotions, mainly in the negative friendships group. Also, in the positive friendship group, high-pathway think-
ing children had higher expectations of positive friendship, whereas, in the non satisfactory friendship group,
low-agency thinking children had low expectations of positive friendship. Finally, hope proved formulator of the
interactive effect of attributions (mainly, locus of causality) and emotions on friendship expectations. The find-
ings from this study suggest the significant role of good friendship in children’s life, and indicate the importance
of examining children friendship along the role of hope in evaluating, attributing causes, experiencing emotions
and forming expectations.
Keywords: Attributions, Emotions, Expectations, Hope, Perceived friendship
Within the broad domain of youth relationships, kinship, co-
operation with peers and close friendship are related to endur-
ing happiness and well-being (Argyle, 2001; Berndt, 2004; Carr,
2005; Holder, & Coleman, 2009; Vandell, Nenide, & Van Win-
kle, 2007). Focusing on children friendships with their best
friends, in particular, may contribute into enhancing their hap-
piness and subjective well-being, as positive psychology con-
ceptualizes (Aspinwall & Staudinger, 2003; Diener, Lucas &
Oishi, 2005; Myers, 2000; Roberts, Brown, Johnson, & Reinke,
2005; Seligman, 2002, 2005). Furthermore, understanding their
perceptions of friendships may help understand their emotional
lives and development, since happy young people are those
who report fulfilling friendships (Bukowski, 2001; Buss, 2005;
Diener, 2000; Diener & Seligman, 2002; Flecher &Thomas,
1996; Hoglund, Lalonde, & Leadbeater, 2008).
Cognition and cognitive process are significant contributors
in the development and quality of a close relationship, and so
need to be considered in any comprehensive investigation of
friendship (Blas, 2007; Harvey, Pauwels, & Zickmund, 2005;
Karney, McNulty, & Bradbury, 2003). Intuitive and atributional
appraisals are two such constructs which have been central
concepts examining close relationships (Collins, Ford, Guich-
ard, & Allard, 2006; Fincham, 2003; Greitemeyer, & Weiner,
2003; Harvey, 1987; Harvey & Omarzu, 1999; Prager, 1995;
Reis, & Patrick, 1996; Stephanou, 2004, 2005; Weiner, 2000).
Whether partners perceive their relationship as positive or nega-
tive, and which explanations or interpretations they make about
the relationship influence their emotions, motivation and be-
haviour (Blascovich & Mandess, 2000; Flecher, Fitness, &
Blampied, 1990; Flecher & Thomas, 2000; Fincham, 2003;
Fincham, Beach, Arias, Brody, 1998; Fitness, Fletcher, &
Similarly, emotions are inherently and intensely experienced
in the context of close relationships, theyplay important role in
future behaviour, and so they are needed to be included in any
comprehensive discussion (Baucom, Epstein, Stanton, 2006;
Berscheid, & Ammazzalorso, 2003; Forgas, 2002; Forgas, &
Smith, 2005; Parrott, 2003; Rose, 2007; Siemer, Mauss, &
Gross, 2007; Smith, & Kirby, 2000). The attributional appraisal
perspective to emotions focuses on how specific emotions such
as sadness and anger are elicited, and on the motivational func-
tions they serve in particular relationship (Clore, & Ortony,
2010; Frijda, 1993, 2007; Smith, & Kirby, 2000; Weiner, 2002,
2005). For example, if one believes that the friend’s good be-
haviour was the significant factor for their good friendship, then
she/he may experience admiration or gratitude. Anger combines
distress over an undesired event with perceiving the other as
responsible for it (Ortony, Clore, & Collins, 1988). Once emo-
tions are experienced, they influence partners’ on-going ap-
praisals, perceptions, information processing with important
consequences in relationship judgments and behaviours (see
Bless, 2003; Parrott, 2003, Weiner, 2006). For example, happy
partners make more optimistic attributions than unhappy (For-
gas, 1994; Planalp & Fitness, 1999). Anger pushes individuals
to attribute blame and malicious intentions to others (Fitness &
Fletcher, 1993; Keltner, Ellsworth, & Edwards, 1993).
As the friendship develops, then, the friends are forming ex-
pectations for a series of constructs in the relationship such as
the friend dispositional behaviour and the content of the friend-
ship. Researches in the person perception and cognition under-
line that the dispositional attributions an individual makes to
the partner reflects an expectations of how he/she will behave
in various situations (see Berscheid, & Ammazzalorso, 2003;
Karney et al., 2003; Trope, & Gaunt, 2005). The expectations
we hold about our friend and the friendship are partly con-
structed through the cognitive appraisals we make and the emo-
tions we experience in the friendship (Bigelow, 1997; Forgas,
& Smith, 2005; Stephanou, & Balkamou, 2010). Similar are the
findings from research in achievement behaviour showing the
high expectations for success are related to task engagement,
persistence in carrying out tasks, effective use of cognitive and
metacognitive strategies, and successful performance (see Ec-
cles, & Wigfield, 2002; Efklides, 2001; Stephanou, 2008).
On the other hand, as mentioned by Siegel (1992), ‘individ-
ual differences factors can influence both a child’s responses to
stress and his or her use of coping strategies’ (p. 4). Further, as
was indicated by Siegel and supported by respective research,
children tend to respond to daily life stimuli by using the same
mechanism of responding to stress (see for a review Roberts et
al., 2005). Additionally, there is an increasing recognition that a
comprehensive conceptualization of coping mechanisms views
them as normal developmental components (Carr, 2005; Dry-
foos, 1998; Jaycox, Reivich, Gilhan, & Seligman, 1994). Hope,
as it is conceptualized in Snyder’s (1994, 2005) hope theory, is
a significant construct in understanding how children deal in
friendships (Smith & Kirby, 2000; Snyder, Cheavens, & Symp-
son, 1997). Researches (e.g., Snyder, Hoza, Pelham, Rapoff,
Ware, Danovsky, Highberger, Rubinstein, & Stahl, 1997; Sny-
der, McDermott, Cook, & Rapoff, 1997; Stephanou, 2010) have
shown that the majority of children are able to use hopeful,
goal-directing thought. In middle childhood and preadolescence,
in particular, there is a growth in logical rather than intuitive
thinking skills, which contributes to increasing hopeful plan-
ning and pursuing pathways towards value-goals and doing so
within a social context of mindful of the wishes of significant
others, including peers and friends (Carr, 2005; Snyder, 2000).
Hope influences how children interpret and feel in close rela-
tionships (Roberts et al., 2005; Stephanou, 2010). Specifically,
although in hope theory the focus is on reaching desired future
goal-related outcomes, hope is related to attributions for past
behaviour, since both theories elaborate pursuit goals and im-
portant outcomes (see Seligman, 1991; Snyder, Rand, & Sig-
mon, 2005; Weiner, 2002). Hope is related to emotions in a
given close relationship, since goal-pursuit cognitions, such as
avoiding or alleviating harm or maximizing benefits in it cause
emotions (Smith & Ellsworth, 1987; Snyder et al., 2005).
Moreover, ‘the goal of ‘conecting’ with other people is fun-
damental because the seeking of one’s goals almost always
occurs within the context of social commerce’ (Snyder et al.,
2005, p. 266). People with high hope enjoy high social desir-
ability, perceive social support, are not characterized by loneli-
ness, enjoy their interactions with others, and are socially com-
petent (Barnum, Snyder, Rapoff, Mani, & Thompson, 1998;
Snyder, Hoza et al., 1997; Sympson, 1999). Generally, indi-
viduals with high dispositional hope enjoy life, and use positive
reappraisal for a variety of stressor situation, and they not use
avoidance and denial behaviour (Gilham, 2000; Snyder, 2000;
Snyder, Cheavens, & Michael, 1999).
However, only a limited number of studies have focused on
children’s friendships (see Bukowski, 2001; Gifford-Smith &
Brownell, 2003; Hoglund et al., 2008; Rose, 2007; Stephanou
& Balkamou, 2010; Vandell et al., 2007), on children’s hope,
attributions and emotions for their friendships, and on how
these concepts interactively influence friendship expectations
(see Bowker, Rubin, Burgess, Booth-LaForce, & Rose-Krasnor,
2006; Fincham, 2003; Jenkins, & Ball, 2000; Lewis, & Kliewer,
1996; Overwalle, Heylighen, Casaer, & Daniels, 1992; Rockhill,
Fan, Katon, McCauley, Crick, & Pleck, 2007; Stephanou, 2010;
Underwood, & Hurley, 1999).
Accordantly, this study is based on the connection between
friendships and emotional experience from a socio-cognitive
perspective. Specifically, Weiner’s (1992, 2001, 2002) attribu-
tions theory was involved, which, incorporating cognitive ap-
praisals and emotions, is helpful in understanding interpersonal
relationships, (see Argyle, 2001; Fincham, 2003; Fitness et al.,
2005; Fletcher, & Clark, 2003; Hewstone, & Antaki, 2001).
Snyder’s (2000) hope theory was also used, which, incorporat-
ing waypower and willing power, offers an important construct
in understanding how children deal and interact with others
(Roberts et al., 2005).
Attributions and Emotions for Interpersonal
Individuals appraise an interpersonal relationship by evalu-
ating and by attributing causes (Leary, 2000; Smith, & Lazarus,
1990; Trope, & Gaunt, 2005). The appraisals reflect what the
stimulus-relationship means to the individual and whether it is
good or bad (Fincham, 2003; Fitness et al., 2005).
Although, an interpersonal relationship could be attributed to
infinite number of attributions, self, other person, situation,
environment, self-other person interaction, and relationship
itself are the most prominent causes in describing positive and
negative relationships (Argyle, 2001; Erber, & Gilmour, 1995;
Planalp, & Rivers, 1996). Attributions are categorized into di-
mensions of locus of causality (internal /external to the person),
stability (stable/unstable over time) and controllability (per-
sonal and external controllable/uncontrollable), which have
psychological and behavioral consequences (Argyle, 2001;
Berscheid, & Ammazzalorso, 2003; Fletcher & Thomas, 2000;
McAuley, Duncan, & Russell, 1992; Stephanou, 2005, 2007;
Weiner, 2002, 2005).
The perceived quality of the relationship differentiates the
attributional pattern (Fiedler, Semin, Finkenauer, & Berkel,
1995; Fincham, 2003). Specifically, individuals tend to attrib-
ute the positive interpersonal relationships to themselves (in-
ternal, stable, personal controllable, and external uncontrolla-
ble), and the negative relationships to the other person and situ-
ational factors (Fitness et al., 2005; Stephanou, 2005, 2007;
Weiner, 2001, 2002; Ybarra & Stephan, 1999). Furthermore,
the more negative the interpersonal relationship the more the
attributions to the other person’s constant negative properties
(Argyle, 2001; Gilbert & Malone, 1995; Hewstone & Antaki,
2001; Williams & Gilmore, 2008).
Previous researches show that both intuitive appraisal and the
attributional appraisal are major source of experienced emo-
tions in interpersonal relationships (Clark, Fitness, & Brissette,
2003; Fletcher, 2002; Smith, & Lazarus, 1990; Trope & Guant,
2005; Weiner, 2002). According to Weiner’s (2002) attribution
theory, in particular, there are ‘outcome- dependent’ (e.g., hap-
piness, pleasure, sadness) emotions, that are the initial and
strongest response to the valence of the relationship. For exam-
ple, if it is positive, a person fells happy, whereas if it is nega-
tive, he/she fells sad. The ‘attribution—dependent’ (e.g., anger,
encouragement) emotions are influenced by the causal explana-
tion for the relationship (Oatley, & Jenkins, 1998; Stephanou,
2007; Weiner, 2002). For example a child may experience an-
ger if believes that the friend could and should have behaved
differently. In contrast, a child may feel confidence if she/he
considers the friend’s positive dispositional factors as causes
for the positive friendship.
Although all causal dimensions are related to emotions for
the partner’s (friend) behavior and the relationship itself, their
prevalence differs across the various emotions. Locus of cau-
sality, stability and controllability mainly influences the self-
esteem (pride)- expectancy (confidence)- and social (shame,
anger, gratitude)-related emotions, respectively (Berndsen, &
Manstead, 2007; Stephanou 2007; Weiner, 2005, 2006). For
example, internal attributions for successful events (positive
friendship) is related to feelings of confidence and pride,
whereas external attributions leads to positive behaviors such as
help seeking, or negative responses, such as helplessness,
avoidance and lack of persistence. In contrast, attributing un-
successful events (negative friendship) to internal factors pre-
dicts incompetence, shame, guilt and resignation, whereas at-
tributing unsuccessful events to others causes aggression and
vindictiveness (see Fincham, 2003; Fitness et al., 2005).
Attributing successful relationship to stable factors enhances
relationship expectations, and facilitates relationship engage-
ment, while attributing negative friendship to unstable is likely
to improve friendship and minimizes the feeling of hopeless-
ness. In contrast, attributing negative relationship to stable fac-
tors reduces positive expectations, produces the feeling of
hopelessness and can lead to learned helplessness, a sense that
none effort can lead to good friendship (see Fitness et al., 2005;
Peterson and Steen, 2005; Seligman, 2002; Weiner, 2001).
Guilt and anger are elicited by controllable causes, but guilt
emerges from internal, whereas anger is elicited by external
factors (Stephanou, 2007, 2010; Weiner, 1992). Hate resulted
from appraisals of relative powerlessness and a perceived lack
of control (see Fitness et al., 2005). Also, stable causes maxi-
mize feelings of pity, given uncontrollable causes, and feelings
of anger, given controllable causes (Graham, & Hoehn, 1995).
Overall, the belief that a person has about the causes of his/
her friendship have effects on his/her feelings for the friend,
and his/her expectations for the quality of the friendship in the
future (Clark et al., 2003; Fletcher, 2002; Siemer et al., 2007;
Stephanou, & Balkamou, 2010; Weiner, 2001). Then, emotions
and expectations influence the individual’s actual behavior
toward the partner, and the friendship itself (see Fincham, 2003;
Fletcher, & Clark, 2002, Fletcher, & Thomas, 2000; Weiner,
The association of Hope with Attributions, Emotions
According to Snyder’s (see Snyder et al., 2005) hope theory,
hope is a cognitive set including an individual’s beliefs in his/
her capacity to create effective routes to achieve goals (way
power or pathways thinking) and beliefs in his/her ability to
initiate and sustain movement towards those goals (willing
power or agency). It is ‘a positive motivational state that is
based on an interactively derived sense of successful agency
(goal-directed energy) and pathways (planning to meet goals)’
(Snyder, Irving, & Anderson, 1991, p. 287). Agency thinking is
the motivational component in hope theory, and it is particu-
larly crucial in the case of impediments (Snyder, 1994).
Within this perceptive, hope is a critical construct to under-
stand how children deal with others and work towards goals,
such as developing a good friendship, in an adaptive, effective
manner (see Roberts et al., 2005). Measures of children’s hope
are positively related with self reported competence and feeling
about themselves, and it is predictor of self-esteem (Snyder,
McDermott, et al., 1997; Snyder, Feldman, Taylor, Schroeder,
& Adams, 2000). Also, the Lewis and Kliewer’s (1996) study,
focusing on pediatric population, showed that hope was nega-
tively associated with anxiety, but this association was moder-
ated by coping strategies. A research by Barnum et al. (1998)
revealed that high-hope had protective function in children to
allow them to be effective in their lives in spite of the obstacles.
Hopeful people, like optimistic people, expect positive out-
comes even when they face difficulties, in which they insist in
pursuit their goals and regulate themselves, using effective
coping strategies, so they enhance the chances to achieve their
goals (Carver, & Scheier, 2005; Scheier, Carver, & Bridges,
2000; Peterson, 2000; Seligman, 1991). Hopeful people, addi-
tionally, focus not only on future goals but also on goals they
believe they can achieve (see Nolen-Hoeksema, & Davis, 2005,
Snyder, 2000). That means that hopeful individuals are looking
for something positive in a variety of conditions.
Accordantly, a high hope child may use optimistic attribution
pattern in explaining positive or negative friendships. Probably,
a high- hope child, as an optimistic child does, attribute failure
to external, unstable and specific factors instead of internal,
stable and global factors (see Scheier, & Carven, 1985; Snyder
et al., 2005; Seligman, 2002).
In Snyder’s hope theory, emphasizing the thinking processes,
‘goal-pursuit cognitions cause emotions’ (Snyder et al. 2005, p.
258). Specifically, positive emotions result from perception of
successful goal pursuit which reflects unimpeded movement
toward the goal or effective overcoming the obstacles. In con-
trast, negative emotions are formulated by the perception of
unsuccessful goal pursuit which may result from insufficient
agency thinking and/or pathway thinking or the ineffective
ability to overcome the problem. These points were supported
by respective researches (e.g., Snyder et al., 1996; Stephanou,
2010), and are in agreement with findings for reported lessened
well-being stern from perceived difficulties in pursuit of im-
portant goals (Diener, 1984; Ruehlman, & Wolchik, 1988).
Summarizing, hope influences thought, feelings, expectations
and behavior in close relationships.
Aim and Hypotheses of the Study
This study aimed to examine 1) children’s attributions and
emotions for their subjectively perceived positive and negative
friendships with their best friend, 2) the role of children’s hope
(pathways thinking, agency thinking) in the generation of their
perceptions of the friendships as positive or negative, in the
formulation of the subsequent attributions and emotions, and in
the impact of attributions on emotions, and 3) the effects of
hope (pathways thinking, agency thinking) in the formulation
of expectations of the quality of the friendship in the future, and
in the interactive impact of attributions and emotions on the
The hypotheses of the study were the following: The per-
ceived positive or negative friendships will be attributed to self-
related and other-related factors, respectively (Hypothesis 1a).
Locus of causality will be the most powerful attributional di-
mension in discriminating the group of children who will per-
ceive their friendship as positive from the group of children
who will perceive their friendship as negative (Hypothesis 1b).
The children will experience various emotions for their per-
ceived positive or negative friendships (Hypothesis 2a). The
perceived positive and negative friendships will produce posi-
tive and negative emotions, respectively (Hypothesis 2b), par-
ticularly outcome-dependent emotions (Hypothesis 2c).
The perceived positive friendship group, compared to per-
ceived negative friendship group, will have higher hope (Hy-
pothesis 3a). Hope, mainly agency thinking, will have positive
effects on the generation of perceiving the friendship as posi-
tive and, mainly, as negative (Hypothesis 3b).
Hope will have positive effects (particularly in negative
friendships) on the formulation of attributional dimensions,
mainly, stability (Hypothesis 4a), emotions, mainly expectancy-
related emotions (Hypothesis 4b), and on the impact of attribu-
tions on emotions (Hypothesis 4c).
Hope will positively influence the generation of expectations
of the quality of the friendship in the future (Hypothesis 5a),
and the interactive effect of attributions and emotions on
friendship expectations (Hypothesis 5b), mainly in the case of
negative friendships (Hypothesis 5c).
A total of 322 children, of both genders (girls = 173, and
boys = 149), of Grades 5 and 6 participated in this study. Their
age ranged from 10 to 12 years (M = 11.15 years, SD = .74).
They came from schools of various towns of Greece, repre-
senting various parental socioeconomic levels. Of the partici-
pants, 233 and 89 children perceived their friendship as positive
and negative, respectively (see measurements below).
The consistency of the scales was based on previous relevant
to the topic literature (e.g., Bowker et al., 2006; Fletcher, 2002;
Fincham, 2003; Holder, & Coleman, 2009; Stephanou, 2005,
2007; Stephanou, & Balkamou, 2010; Snyder et al., 2005;
Weiner, 2001, 2006), and on findings from a pilot research.
Perceptions of friendship. Children’s perceptions of the
quality of their friendships with their best friends were esti-
mated by responding to a five-point four items scale (“How
good is this friendship?”, “How much satisfied are you with
this friendship?”). Responses ranged from 1 = not at all to 5 =
very much. Children themselves defined their friendships as
positive or negative by completing the friendship scale twice.
More precisely, they, first, filled it for the current quality of
their friendship, and, then, mentioned the lowest value in each
item over which the friendship would be positive. Children
whom the friendship was lower than the indicated as positive
formed the group of negative friendship, while those whose
friendship was equal or higher than the indicated one formed
the group of positive friendship. Cronbach’s alphas were .85
and .82 for the positive and negative friendship, respectively.
Attributions for friendship. Children’s attributions for the
perceived quality of their friendships were examined via the
slightly modified Causal Dimension Scale II (CDSII, McAuley,
Duncan, & Russell, 1992), which is a reliable and valid re-
search instrument in examining attributions for intimate inter-
personal relationships in Greek population (see Stephanou,
2005, 2007, 2010). The children indicated the most important
factor which, according to their opinion, influenced the quality
of their friendship, how much this factor contributed to the
given friendship, and classified that cause along the causal di-
mensions of locus of causality (internal/external causes to him/
herself), stability (stable/unstable causes over time), personal
controllability (controllable/uncontrollable causes by their own),
external controllability (controllable/uncontrollable causes by
others), friend’s locus of causality (internal/external causes to
their friend), friend’s controllability (controllable/uncontroll-
able causes by their friend), self-friend interactive locus of cau-
sality (internal/external causes to interaction self-friend) and
self-friend interactive controllability (controllable/uncontroll-
able causes by interactive self-friend). Each subscale consists of
three items, ranging form the negative pole 1 = not at all stable
to the positive pole 7 = totally stable. Cronbach’s alphas
were .82 for locus of causality, .85 for stability, .75 for personal
controllability, .72 for external controllability, .76 for friend’s
locus of causality, .72 for friend’s controllability, .71 for self-
friend locus of causality, and .70 for self-friend controllability.
Emotions for friendship. Children’s emotions for their
friendships with their best friend were assessed by mentioning
the extent to which they experienced twelve emotions: happi-
ness, pleasure, pride, encouragement, love, not angry-angry,
cheerfulness, confidence, calmness, not anxiety-anxiety, en-
thusiasm and excitement. The emotions had the form of adjec-
tives with two opposite poles, with the positive pole having the
high score of 7 and the negative one having the low score of 1
(e.g., happy 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 unhappy). The consistency of the
scale was based on previous research (see Stephanou, 2004,
2007; Weiner, 1992, 2001).
Friendship expectations. Children’s friendship expectations
were examined via the scale of the perceived current quality of
the friendship. The wording of the questions for the two scales
was the same except for the verb tense (“How good will this
friendship be in the future”, “How much satisfied will you be
with this friendship in the future?”). Cronbach’s alphas
were .84 and .80 for the positive and negative friendship, re-
Hope. Children’s dispositional hope was examined via the
Children’s Hope Scale for ages 8 to 16 (Snyder, Hoza, et al.,
1997) which comprises three agency thinking (e.g., “I think I
am doing pretty well”) and three pathways thinking (e.g., “I can
think of many ways to get the things in life that are most im-
portant to me”) items. Responses ranged from 1 = None of the
time to 6 = All of the time. The scale was independently trans-
lated from English into Greek by two familiar to the topic re-
searches, and, then, there was a backward translation by a na-
tive English speaker. The feedback was positive for the Greek
version of the scale. Cronbach’s alphas were .89 and .86 for
agency thinking and pathways thinking, respectively.
Personal factors. Children’s personal information scale con-
sisted of a set of questions relevant to personal factors, such as
age, grade and gender.
The children initially completed the hope scale. After one
week, all the participants were asked, first, to write down the
name of their best friend, and, then, to fill out the scales that
refer to this specific friendship. The children individually com-
pleted the scales in front of the researcher in quite classrooms
in their schools. In order to ensure that any relationship among
the examined variables was not due to procedure used, the par-
ticipants completed first the emotions scale and then the scales
of the perceived quality of their friendship and the attributions.
To match the questionnaires that were responded by the same
child, children were asked to choose a code name and use it on
the questionnaires. The children were assured of anonymity and
Attributions and Emotions for the Perceived Positive
and Negative Friendship
The results from the repeated measures MANOVAs (using
the Wilks’s lambda estimate) with the eight attributional di-
mensions as within-subjects factor and the perceived friendship
(positive/negative) as between-subjects factor revealed signifi-
cant effect of the attributional dimensions, F(7, 314) = 53.80, p
< .01, η2 = .54, significant effect of the perceived friendship F(1,
320) = 93.00, p < .01, η2 = .22, and significant multivariate
effect, F(7, 314) = 31.80, p < .01, η2 = .41. The results from
subsequent repeated measures ANOVAs, examining differ-
ences between attributions within each group (positive/negative)
of friendship, post hoc pairwise comparisons and the mean
scores (Table 1) indicated that the children made internal, per-
sonal controllable, external uncontrollable, stable, controllable
by their friends, internal to their friends and, mainly, self-friend
interactive internal and controllable attributions for the per-
ceived positive friendships. In contrast, they made external,
external controllable, personal uncontrollable, and, predomi-
nately, stable, friend’s controllable and internal, and self-friend
interactive internal attributions for the perceived negative
The results from Discriminant analysis (Table 1), with step-
wise method, confirmed the univariate effects and, in addition,
showed that personal controllability, discriminating power
= .84, d = 1.32, followed by locus of causality, discriminating
power = .60, d = 1.12, self-friend interactive controllability,
discriminating power = .59, d = 1.08, was the most powerful
factor in discriminating the group of children who perceived
their friendship as positive from the group of children who
perceived their friendship as negative. Furthermore, friend’s
controllability had no significant contribution in discriminating
the two groups of children.
The above results partly confirmed Hypotheses 1a and 1b.
The results from the two repeated measures ANOVAs, one
for each group of friendship (positive/negative), in which emo-
tions was the within-subjects factor, showed that the partici-
pants experienced various emotions and a variety of intensity of
emotions for their perceived positive friendships, F(11, 222) =
12.52, p < .01, η2 = .40, and negative friendships, F(11, 78) =
4.60, p < .01, η2 = .41. Inspection of the scores (Table 2) and
the post hoc pairwise comparisons indicated that the children
experienced intense positive emotions, mainly enthusiasm,
happiness, cheerfulness, pleasure and confidence, for their per-
ceived positive friendships. In contrary, the children felt intense
negative emotions, predominately non confidence, not excite-
ment, sadness and anxiety, for their perceived negative friend-
ships. Discriminant analysis, with stepwise method, was con-
Descriptive statistics and results from Discriminant analysis for children’s attribution for their perceived positive and negative friendships.
Positive friendshipNegative friendship
Attributional dimensions Mean SD Mean SD Wilks’ LambdaDiscriminating power d F
Locus of causality 5.78 1.09 4.42 .74 .74 .60 1.12 108.26
Personal controllability 5.62 1.08 3.86 1.03 .64 .79 1.32 173.62
Stability 5.66 1.21 5.07 .80 .94 .25 .51 18.13
External controllability 3.18 1.63 4.47 .91 .86 .42 .81 49.54
Friend’s locus of causality 5.73 1.16 4.96 .70 .89 .37 .73 38.91
Friend ’s personal controllability 5.44 1.15 5.01 .53 .96 -- .41 11.23
Self-friend interactive locus causality 5.92 1.02 4.99 1.03 .85 .44 .80 53.61
Self-friend interactive controllability 6.01 1.04 4.84 .63 .76 .59 1.08 98.36
Note: All F(1, 320) values p < .01; --: Attributional dimensions did not to further differentiate the one group from the other group of children.
Descriptive statistics and findings from Discriminant analysis for children’s emotions for their perceived positive and negative friendships.
Positive friendship Negative friendship
Emotions Mean SD Mean SD Wilks’ Lambda Discriminting power Cohen’s d F
Happiness 4.48 .65 1.89 1.44 .39 -- 1.73 493.05
Pleasure 4.50 .63 2.17 1.35 .42 .76 1.70 440.58
Pride 4.14 .84 2.30 1.44 .61 .53 1.39 199.46
Love 4.28 .76 2.01 1.38 .47 -- 1.61 348.78
Encouragement 4.36 .70 2.25 1.37 .49 .68 1.58 328.38
No anger-angry 4.21 .96 2.00 1.38 .55 -- 1.92 262.33
Cheerfulness 4.55 .71 1.80 1.48 .39 .84 1.75 500.03
Excitement 4.09 .84 1.70 1.40 .47 -- 1.61 351.86
Confidence 4.40 .71 1.74 1.42 .39 .83 1.75 488.14
Calmness 4.04 1.01 1.88 1.39 .57 -- 1.15 236.38
Non anxiety-anxiety 4.08 .95 1.84 1.41 .54 -- 1.80 268.13
Enthusiasm 4.57 .76 1.89 1.44 .40 .81 1.73 463.70
Note: All F(1, 320) values are significant at the .01 level of significance; The nature of the emotions is positive and negative in the positive and negative friendships group,
respectively; --: Emotions did not further differentiate the one group from the other group of children.
ducted to determine the set of emotions that best discriminated
the two groups of children. The results from this analysis (Ta-
ble 2) confirmed the univariate findings, and, in addition, re-
vealed that: 1) the children, who estimated their friendship as
positive, compared to children, who estimated their friendship
as negative, felt better, 2) the emotion of cheerfulness, dis-
criminating power = .84, d = 1.75, followed by the emotions of
confidence, discriminating power = .83, d = 1.75, enthusiasm,
discriminating power = .81, d = 1.73, and pleasure, discrimi-
nating power = .76, d = 1.70, was the most powerful factor in
discriminating the group of students with the positive friend-
ships from the group of students with the negative friendships
and 3) the emotions of happiness, love, no angry-angry, ex-
citement, calmness, no anxiety—anxiety were found not to
further differentiate the one group from the other group of
The above results partly confirmed Hypotheses 2a, 2b and
The role of Hope in the Perceived Positive and
The results from Anovas, with the perceived (positive/nega-
tive) friendship as between subjects factor, and examination of
the mean scores revealed that the children who estimated their
friendships as positive, as compared to children, who perceived
their friendships as negative, had higher agency thinking and
higher pathway thinking. The results from Discriminant analy-
sis (Table 3) with stepwise method confirmed these findings
and, in addition, showed that agency thinking, discriminating
power = .95, d = 1.42, discriminated the one from the other
group of children, while path thinking did not to further differ-
entiate the two groups of children.
Because we were also interested in the role of hope within
positive/negative friendship, correlations coefficients and re-
gression analyses within each group of friendships were con-
ducted. The results from these analyses showed that the higher
levels of hope (mainly, agency thinking) were associated with
higher perceived positive friendships and with lower perceived
negative friendships. More precisely, in the positive friendships
group, agency thoughts and pathways thoughts, together, in-
fluenced the students’ perceptions of their friendships, R2 = .12,
F(2, 230) = 19.35, p < .01, agency thoughts, b = .35, t = 4.25, p
< .01, had unique effect on it, while pathways thoughts had not
significant effect, b = .02, t = 1.00, p > .05. In the negative
friendships group, pathways thoughts and agency thoughts, as a
group, influenced the generation of the perceived friendships,
R2 = .69, F(2, 86) = 97.45, p < .01, agency thoughts, b = .70, t =
3.55, p < .01, contributed into it, while pathway thinking was
not significant contributor, b = .13, t = .67, p > .05.
Thus, Hypotheses 3a and 3b were partly confirmed.
Effects of Hope on Attributions for the Perceived
Positive a n d Negative Friendships
Correlations coefficients, and a series of regression analysis
(Table 4), with agency thinking and pathway thinking as pre-
dictive variables and each of the attributional dimensions as
predicted variable, within each group (positive/negative friend-
ship) of children revealed the following.
Agency thoughts and pathways thoughts, together, positively
influenced the formulation of the attributional dimensions, ex-
plaining an amount of variance from 3% (external controllabi-
lity) to 18% (stability) in the positive friendships group, and
Descriptive statistics and results from Discriminant analysis for the effects of children’s hope on their perceived friendships (positive/negative).
Positive friendship Negative friendship
Hope Mean SD Mean SD Wilks’ Lambda Discriminating power Cohen’s d F*
Agency thinking 14.32 3.00 8.04 4.30 .59 .95 1.42 218.23
Pathway thinking 14.19 2.86 8.75 4.30 .65 -- 1.32 172.64
Note: All F(1, 320) values, p < .01; --: Pathway thinking did not further differentiate the one group from the other group of children.
Findings from regression analyses for the effects of children’s hope (agency thinking, path thinking) on attributional dimensions for their perceived
positive and negative friendships.
Positive friendships Negative friendships
Predictors: HopeR2 F(2, 230)b t R2 F(2, 86) b t
Locus of causality Agency thinking
--- .47 38.20 .69
Personal controllability Agency thinking
--- .51 44.80 .66
Stability Agency thinking
Path thinking .18 26.10 .42
--- .06 10.28 .21
External controllability Agency thinking
Path thinking .0394.67 -.18
--- .32 22.80 ---
Friend’s locus of causality Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- -- -- --- ---
Friend ’s personal controllability Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- -- -- --- ---
Self-friend interactive locus of causality Agency thinking
Path thinking .07 9.50 .23
3.10 -- -- --- ---
Self-friend interactive controllability Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- .30 18.40
Note: F > 4.67, p < .01; F ≤ = 4.67, p < .05; F--, p > .05; t---, p > .05, t ≥ 2.35, p < .01.
from 30% (self-friend interactive controllability) to 51% (per-
sonal controllability) in the negative friendships group. Thus,
hope was a better predictor of the attributional dimensions for
the perceived negative friendships than for the perceived posi-
tive friendships. Higher-hope children, as compared to lower-
hope children, made more internal, personal controllable, stable,
external uncontrollable and self-friend interactive internal
attributions for their perceived positive friendships, and more
external, personal uncontrollable, external controllable, and
self-friend interactive uncontrollable attributions their per-
ceived negative friendships.
Pathways thoughts accounted for significant variability only
in self-friend interactive locus of causality and self-friend in-
teractive controllability in the positive and negative friendships
group, respectively. In contrast, agency thoughts evidenced
unique contribution in the generation of all of the attributional
Thus, Hypotheses 4a was mainly confirmed.
Effects of Hope on Emotions for the Perceived
Positive a n d Negative Friendships
The results from correlations coefficients and a series of re-
gression analyses, with agency thinking and pathway thinking
as predictive variables and each of the emotions as predicted
variable, within each group (perceived positive/negative friend-
ships) (Table 5) showed that 1) agency thoughts and pathways
thoughts, as a group, was a significant formulator of the chil-
dren’s emotions for their positive friendships, R2 ranged
from .03 (pride) to .11 (confidence), and, mainly, of their emo-
tions for their negative friendships, R2 ranged from .30 (calm-
ness) to .80 (encouragement), 2) higher-hope children, in com-
parison to lower-hope children, experienced more intense posi-
tive emotions (mainly, encouragement and confidence) for their
positive friendships, while they felt less negative emotions
(particularly, discouragement, hate, and shame) for their nega-
tive friendships, 3) the relative power of pathway thinking and
agency thinking in formulating emotional experience varied
across emotions and between the two groups of friendships, and
4) pathway thinking, compared to agency thinking, was a better
predictor of most of the emotions in the positive friendships
group, while in the negative friendships group the reverse was
The above findings partly confirmed the hypothesis 4b.
Effects of Ho pe on the Impact of A t tri b utions on
Emotions for the Perceived Friendship
Because we were also interested in the mediate role of hope
in the impact of the attributions on the emotions for the per-
ceived positive and negative friendship, a series of hierarchical
regression analysis were conducted. Each of the emotions was
the predicted variable, and attributional dimensions were en-
tered at the first step, and agency thoughts and pathway
thoughts were entered at the second step of the analysis1.
The results from the analyses (Table 6) revealed that 1) hope
and attributions, in combination, accounted for a significant
variance in the emotions for the perceived positive friendships,
R2 ranged from .08 (encouragement) to .18 (happiness), and,
mainly, for perceived negative friendships, R2 ranged from .57
(nervousness) to .88 (displeasure), 2) hope (agency thinking
and pathways thinking, together) enhanced the impact of the
attributions on the emotions for the perceived positive friend-
ships, R2ch ranged from .032 to .057, and, mostly, for the per-
ceived negative friendships, R2ch ranged from .034 to. 65. That
means that the children with higher hope (mainly, agency
thinking) were more likely to use the specific attributional pat-
tern and enjoy their friendships more than the children with
lower hope. Also, 3) agency thinking had unique effect on most
of the emotions, whereas pathway thinking had unique effect on
confidence and encouragement. Finally, 4) locus of causality,
personal controllability, and self-friend interactive controllabil-
ity, compared to the other attributional dimensions, were better
predictors of most of the emotions.
The above findings partly confirmed Hypotheses 4c.
Effects of Hope on the Interactive Impact of
Attributions and Emotions on Friendship
In order to examine the role of hope on the effects of the at-
tributions and emotions for the perceived quality of the friend-
ship on the friendship expectations, correlation coefficients and
two hierarchical regression analyses were performed. The find-
ings revealed that, in the positive friendships group, high-
pathway thinking children expected that their friendship will
continue to be good in the future. In contrast, in the negative
friendships group, low-agency thinking children had low ex-
pectations of positive friendship. In addition, the main results
from the two hierarchical regression analyses (Table 7), with
friendship expectations as predicted factor, and emotions en-
tering into first step, attributions entering into second step and
hope entering into third step of the analysis, were the following:
a) the three sets of predictors, together, had significant and
positive effect on friendship expectations in the positive friend-
ships group, R2 = .47, and in the negative friendship group, R2
= .96, b) pathways thoughts and agency thoughts, together,
influenced the interactive impact of attributions and emotions
on friendship expectations in both groups of friendships, posi-
tive, R2ch = .029, and negative, R2ch = .052, c) pathways
thoughts and agency thoughts enhanced the impact of attribu-
tions and emotions on friendship expectations in the positive
friendships group and negative friendships group, respectively,
d) pleasure, encouragement, cheerfulness, confidence, calmness,
stability, external controllability, self-friend interactive locus of
causality, and pathway thoughts uniquely contributed into
friendship expectations in the positive friendships group, and e)
displeasure, discouragement, hate, sadness, no excitement, no
enthusiasm, personal controllability, external controllability,
self-friend interactive controllability and agency thoughts were
significant predictors of friendship expectations in the negative
friendships group. Hypotheses 5a, 5b and 5c were in the main
confirmed by these findings.
The main aim of this study was to investigate a) possible
differences between the children who perceive their friendship
with their best friend either as positive or negative with respect
to subsequent attributions and emotions, and hope (pathways
thinking, agency thinking, and b) the role of hope in the genera-
tion of attributions, emotions and friendship expectations.
The attributional pattern for the friendships was in the main
as expected. The children attributed their friendships with their
best friends to various causes, reflecting the high importance of
such relationships in their life (Argyle, 2001; Berndt, 2004;
Bukowski, 2001; Holder & Coleman, 2009; Stephanou, 2010;
1Only the variables that were significantly related to each—other were in-
cluded in the analysis.
Findings from regression analyses for the effects of children’s hope (agency thinking, path thinking) on their emotions for their perceived positive and
Positive friendships Negative friendships
Predictors: Hope R2 F(2, 230) b t R2 F(2, 86) b t
Happiness Agency thinking
Path thinking .06 7.90 .18
--- .51 46.45 .95
Pleasure Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- .71 106.94
Pride Agency thinking
Path thinking .03 4.00 .18
--- .75 135.20 .96
Love Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- .77 145.10
Encouragement Agency thinking
Path thinking .07 9.23 ---
3.52 .80 172.50 .77
Not angry-angry Agency thinking
Path thinking .04 7.00 .21 3.27 .71 109.45
Cheerfulness Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- .65 81.10
Excitement Agency thinking
Path thinking .09 11.30 .38
2.80 .58 60.10 .90
Confidence Agency thinking
Path thinking .11 15.60 .17
2.43 .57 58.35 .90
Calmness Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- .30 18.60
No anxiety-anxiety Agency thinking
Path thinking -- -- --- --- .49 44.65
Enthusiasm Agency thinking
Path thinking .05 6.30 ---
2.67 .54 50.90 .80
Note: F > 4.00, p < .01; F ≤ = 4.00, p < .05; F--, p > .05; t > 2.80, p < .01; t ≤ 2.80, p < .05; t ---, p > .05; The nature of the emotions is positive and negative in the positive
and negative friendships group, respectively.
Stephanou, & Balkamou, 2010). In addition, the attributional
pattern within- and between positive and negative friendships
group appears to be related to desirable good friendship (see
Gifford-Smith & Brownell, 2003; Harvey et al., 2005; Hoglund
et al., 2008; Weiner, 2002, 2005). Also, by attributing the posi-
tive friendships to personal properties, along with friend related
factors, self-friend interactive internal and controllable causes,
the participants enhanced themselves, multiplied the chances of
good relationship in the future, and, simultaneously, indicated
the crucial role of the friend in forming a satisfactory friendship
(Fiedler et al., 1995; Fincham, 2003; Rusbult, Arriaga, & Ag-
new, 2003; Weiner, 2001). By attributing the negative friend-
ships to external, personal uncontrollable and friend’s internal
and controllable bad factors, the children protected themselves
(see Stephanou, 2005, 2007; Weiner, 2001). However, consid-
ering the friend as responsible for the negative friendship does
not facilitate future positive relationship (Karney et al., 2003;
Mason, 2001; Weiner, 1995). Similarly, attributing the non
satisfactory friendship to constant and external controllable
negative factors minimizes the chances for future positive
friendship (Fletcher, 2002; Fincham et al., 1998; Planalp, &
The findings regarding the emotions were mainly in consis-
tency with our hypotheses and previous research evidence.
Perhaps, it was very important for the children to have positive
friendships, since they reacted affectively in high intense (For-
gas, 2002; Forgas, & Smith, 2005; Frijda, 1993, 2009). Also,
the children, being at the specific age, might have expected
positive friendships, and confirmation of them produced in-
tense positive emotions (see Bless, 2003; Trope, & Gaunt,
2005), while, the friends’ unexpected bad behavior contributed
into intense negative emotions. This argument is related to the
Berscheid (1983) emotion-in-relationships model suggesting
the greater the interruption when one partner does something
unexpected, or fails to do something expected, the higher the
intensity of the experienced emotions. Additionally, it seems
that the children’ negative friendships with their best friends
were against their desires, since under such conditions persons
experience intense negative emotions (Berscheid, & Ammazal-
orso, 2003; Carver, & Scheier, 2000; Forgas, 2002; Frijda,
2007, 2009; Parrott, 2003). The fact that the group of children
with the positive friendships was discriminated from the group
of children with the negative friendships predominately by the
outcome-dependent affects (cheerfulness, pleasure), followed
by the expectancy-related affects (confidence, enthusiasm,
encouragement), and self-esteem related affects (pride) is also
in line with these speculations and Weiner’s (2002, 2005) the-
Children also experienced discrete emotions by cognitively
appraised their friendships along the attributional dimensions.
This finding is in agreement with other researches (e.g.,
Bradbury, & Fincham, 1987; Fitness & Fletcher, 1993; Planalp
& Fitness, 1999; Stephanou, & Balkamou, 2010) in intimate
relationships. The fact that attributions were more powerful
contributor in the generation of the emotions in negative than
positive friendships is consistent with the notion that indivi-
duals search for explanations of their negative than positive ex-
periences (Weiner, 2002). Locus of causality and personal con-
trollability were found to be the most significant predictors
of most of the emotions, contrarily to the notion that each
Results from hierarchical regression analyses for the impact of hope (agency thinking, path thinking) on the effects of attributions on emotions for the
perceived friendships (positive/negative).
Emotions Predictors Steps R2 R
2ch Fch F beta t
Attributions 1st .17 14.20 S: .39 4.45
Happiness Hope 2nd .18 .005 -- 7.25
Attributions 1st .096 8.10
Hope 2nd .12 033 4.30 6.50 --- ---
Attributions 1st .025 3.40 --- ---
Encouragement Hope 2nd .082 .057 7.10 5.95 HP: .30 3.50
Attributions 1st .09 6.67 ILC: .19 2.90
Not angry- angry Hope 2nd .13 .035 4.60 5.70 HA.: .27 3.05
Attributions 1st .10 7.80 LC: .18 2.80
Excitement Hope 2nd .13 .036 9.65 8.45 HA.: .22 3.15
Attributions 1st .15 10.35 PC: .19 2.30
Confidence Hope 2nd .17 .032 4.45 8.55 HP: .16 2.20
Attributions 1st .72 56.10
Hope 2nd .77 .048 8.35 47.65 HA: .33 2.20
Attributions 1st .73 58.25
Hope 2nd .88 .15 55.97 55.80 HA: .61 4.60
Attributions 1st .49 20.15
Hope 2nd .81 .65 69.85 58.60 HA: .85 6.35
Attributions 1st .55 26.40 PC: .16 2.30
No love Hope 2nd .79 .23 47.70 52.65 HP: .82 4.67
Attributions 1st .55 29.50
Hope 2nd .84 .26 68.30 68.30 HA: .78 5.00
Attributions 1st .70 49.35
Hope 2nd ..83 .13 34.30 70.55 HA: .35 2.10
Attributions 1st .60 37.10 IC: .23 3.00
Sadness Hope 2nd .77 .083 15.20 39.40 HA: .53 2.70
Attributions 1st .80 68.00
Hope 2nd .83 .034 8.40 59.15 HA: .28 3.20
Attributions 1st .63 28.70 IC: .20 2.15
Pessimism Hope 2nd .69 .06 7.80 25.82 HA: .44 3.95
Attributions 1st .56 36.00
Hope 2nd .57 .017 -- 22.65 ---- ---
Attributions 1st .60 32.55
Hope 2nd .69 .086 11.60 31.40 HA: .63 3.15
Attributions 1st .65 39.80
Hope 2nd .73 .07 11.68 11.70 HA: .56 2.60
Notes: LC = Locus of causality; PC = Personal controllability; S = Stability; EC = External controllability; ILC = Self-friend interactive locus of causality; IC = Self-friend
interactive controllability; Fch- and F-values, p < .01; --: No significant at the .05 level; t > 2.60, p < .01; t < 2.60, p < .05; t ---: p > .05.
Findings from regression analyses for the effects of hope on the impact of attributional dimensions on emotions, and in turn on friendship expecta-
tions in the perceived positive and negative friendships groups.
Positive friendships Negative friendships
Steps Predictors R2 R
2ch Fch F b t R2R2chFchF b t
1st Emotions .34 11.80 11.80
No excitement: .48
No enthusiasm: 73
2nd Attributions .44 .10 8.30 12.00
External control: .18
Self-friend interactive locus causality: .17
Personal control.: 17
External control: .16
Self-friend control: .17
3rd Hope .47 .029 5.95 11.60 Pathway thoughts: .25 3.25.96.05249.30107.85 Agency thoughts: .84 6.35
Note: All F- and Fch-values are significant at the .01 level of significance; t - p > .05; t > 2.45, p < .01; t < 2.45, p < .05.
attributional dimension is related to specific kind of emotions.
Self-friend interactive controllability played a significant role in
emotions, particularly for negative relationships, underling the
interactive nature of friendship (Carr, 2005; Rose, 2007).
Interestingly, it also seems that the children considered the
development of their friendship, since, based on Seligman’s
(2002) view of classification of emotions, they experienced
emotions which are related to the past (e.g., pride/shame), the
present (e.g., pleasure/displeasure) and the future (e.g., confi-
It should be mentioned, however, that the experience of some
certain negative emotions does not facilitate future good friend-
ship. For example, previous research evidence suggests that
anger is positively related to attribute malicious intentions to
other, anxiety enhances the belief that threating events are
about to occur, and sadness shapes malicious attributions for
conflicts in close relationships (Fitness et al., 2005; Forgas,
1994, 1995; Planalp, & Fitness, 1999).
To summarize, the findings regarding hope were mainly con-
sistent with our expectations. More precisely, in accordance to
previous studies (see Roberts, 2005; Snyder et al., 2005), and
Snyder’s (2000) hope theory, the children with high hope en-
joyed their friendship with their best friend, and used positive
appraisal for their good friendship. In a similar way, the high
hope children, as compared to low hope children, suffered less
and used effective appraisal of the no satisfactory friendships.
These findings indicate that the high hope children, not the low
hope children, searched for something positive, a consistent
finding with previous empirical evidence (see Carver, &
Scheier, 2005). Hope was also a more powerful contributor into
the generation of emotions and of the appraisals of the negative
friendship than the positive friendship, complementarily to
previous research evidence, which suggests that high hope peo-
ple use positive reappraisal for a variety of stressor situation
(see Gilham, 2000; Snyder et al., 1999).
The differential contribution of pathway thinking and agency
thinking to emotional experience and cognitive appraisals of the
friendships is an indication that hope is interactively con-
structed by these two elements (see Snyder et al, 2005). Con-
trarily to our hypothesis and previous literature, pathway think-
ing played a minor role in emotions, evaluating and attributing
causes of the friendships. This may reflect the notion that
agency thinking shares similarity with self-efficacy (Bandura,
1997), and, being the motivational component of hope, proved
crucial in the case of difficulties, like negative friendship (see
With reference to attributions, in addition, hope predomi-
nately influenced stability than the other attributional dimen-
sions for the positive friendship, while, unexpectedly, it mainly
influenced locus of causality and personal controllability for the
negative friendship, reflecting, probably, the children’s desire
and assurance only for the former friendship. These findings
may also support other findings which reported that high-hope
as compared with low-hope individuals tend to present them-
selves more positively and social desirable (Snyder, Hoza, et al.,
1997; Taylor, 1989). However, research needs to examine this
The pattern of the effects of hope on emotions is consistent
with empirical evidence (see Roberts et al., 2005; Seligman,
2005; Stephanou, 2010) showing the important role of hope in
expectancy (encouragement/discouragement, confidence/non
confidence, enthusiasm/non enthusiasm)-, goal pursuit (pleas-
ure/displeasure, cheerfulness/sadness, love/hate)-, self (pride/
shame)-related affects. Furthermore, hope had direct and indi-
rect, through attributions, effect on the emotions for the per-
ceived positive friendships and, mainly, negative friendships.
The results from the present study also, confirming in the
main our hypotheses, reveal that hope, attributions and emo-
tions had unique and complimentarily effect on friendship ex-
pectations. Specifically, the three sets of concepts, in combina-
tion, proved a more powerful predictor of the expectations in
negative than positive friendship group, lending further support
to the earlier findings (see Fitness et al., 2005; Forgas, & Smith,
2005; Greitemeyer, & Weiner, 2003; Harvey et al., 2005;
Stephanou, 2007; Weiner, 2002, 2005). Also, in agreement with
Weiner’s (2002) model the future (encouragement, confidence/
discouragement, no enthusiasm)- and desirable friendship
(pleasure, cheerfulness, calmness/displeasure, hate, sadness, no
excitement)-related emotions contributed in friendship expecta-
tions. Stability, as expected, was a significant factor of the for-
mation of friendship expectation in the positive friendship
group, while, unexpectedly, it had no effect in negative friend-
ship group, reflecting, probably, children’s beliefs that the
negative friendship can become positive only if they can con-
trol situation and interact effectively with their friends. The
effect of external controllability and self-friend interactive lo-
cus of causality is another indication of the perception of the
significant role of the friend in forming a future positive
friendship. However, these need to be further investigated.
Also, in line with Snyder’s (2000) theory and previous re-
search evidence (e.g., Peterson, 2000; Scheier et al., 2000;
Stephanou, 2010), hope had direct and indirect (via the interac-
tion of attributions and emotions) effect on friendship expecta-
tions in both groups of children. That means that the children
with higher pathway thinking were more likely to use the spe-
cific attributional pattern, enjoy their friendships more and have
higher expectations of positive friendship than the children with
lower pathway thinking. In contrast, in the negative friendship
group, the higher agency thinking compared with lower agency
thinking, were more likely to apply the specific attributional
pattern, suffer in the friendship less, and expect future positive
friendship. Interestingly, pathway thinking and agency thinking
proved predictor of friendship expectation in the positive and
negative friendships, respectively. Research needs to verify
their relative role in children’s friendship-related procedures.
Implications of the Findings in Children and
Good friendship proved important for the children. Children
should be helped develop the capacity to make and maintain
stable and satisfying friendships. This capacity is acquired
through personal, historical and environmental factors (Blas,
2007; Buss, 2000; Carr, 2005). Regarding environmental fac-
tors, children should be encouraged by school, the family and
the community to meet peers, at least some of whom have simi-
lar skills, attributes and values. With respect to personal factors,
in the present study, hope appears to play a significant role in it.
More precisely, children had certain hope level that influenced
their perceptions of friendship as positive or negative, the sub-
sequent attributions and emotions, and their friendship expecta-
tions, particularly in negative friendships group. Hence, chil-
dren are needed to be helped maximize hopeful thinking, which
is inculcated through interactions with their caretakers, teachers
and peers (McDermott & Hastings, 2000; Snyder et al., 1997).
Children should be encouraged to formulate clear goals, pro-
duce many and various pathways to these, pursue the goals and
reframe obstacles as challenge to be overcome (Snyder, 2000).
The present findings also support that the participants were
involved in their friendships cognitively and emotionally, and
these processes had significant effect on friendship expectations.
Attributional retraining (Seligman, 2002) helps children to
change maladaptive attributional pattern of friendships, and
understanding the nature and function of emotions within posi-
tive/negative friendship is essential. Yet, emotional expression
influences partners’ behaviour (Clark, Pataki, & Carver, 1996),
and children are needed to be aware of it.
Overall, the findings from this study indicate the importance
of examining children friendship along the role of hope in
evaluating, attributing causes, experiencing emotions and
forming expectations. Research is needed to examine the role of
children’s past experience, beliefs and expectancies about the
ideal friendship on the observed associations, and on the con-
sequences of the present emotional and cognitive pattern on
friendship development. Finally, research needs to investigate
the role of parents’ and teachers’ support in children’s hope
thinking and intimate relationships.
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