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Eight young people (aged 9-14) were interviewed about indiscriminately friendly behaviour. The majority of the sample had a history of maltreatment and placements within foster and care settings. These young people were described as indiscriminately friendly by clinicians, guardians and via the Relationships Problems Questionnaire. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, a qualitative methodology. Emergent themes were drawn from interview data which highlighted the young people's experiences of rejection and feelings of insecurity within their social interactions. While being aware of the risks associated with speaking to strangers and the efforts of adults attempting to protect them from the potential danger associated with indiscriminate friendliness, this group of young people demonstrated a trust of new people and a craving for kindness from others. Evidence was also collected which showed that these children attempted to exert control over others during social contact. These findings offer clinicians an insight into the social interactions of this vulnerable group of children and offer considerations for clinical practice.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry

Publication Date





595 - 618


Adolescent, Awareness, Child, Child Abuse, Crime Victims, Defense Mechanisms, Female, Foster Home Care, Friends, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Interview, Psychological, Loneliness, Male, Object Attachment, Personality Assessment, Rejection (Psychology), Residential Treatment, Self Concept, Social Behavior, Trust