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Perceptions and Expectations of Youth With Disabilities  (NLTS2)
NCSER 2007-3006
September 2007

Personal Relationships

Personal relationships can be "protective factors" against a variety of adolescent risk behaviors. NLTS2 provides the first opportunity to examine the views reported by youth with disabilities regarding their relationships with their families and friends and with other adults, and the extent to which, despite these relationships, youth report being lonely.

  • For the most part, youth with disabilities report having strong, positive relationships with their parents. Parents also are the people youth with disabilities are most likely to turn to for support.

  • About half of youth with disabilities report they feel very cared about by friends, and three-fourths say they can find a friend when they need one and can make friends easily. Friends are an important source of support for 4 in 10 youth with disabilities.

  • Despite these overall positive findings, a small minority of youth with disabilities report quite negative views of their personal relationships. For example, 3 percent report they feel their parents care about them very little or not at all, and more than twice that percentage say they are paid attention to by their family that little.