In a Duke University study out Tuesday, researchers found that pre-teen girls may not be any better at friendships than boys, despite previous research suggesting otherwise. The findings suggest that when more serious violations of a friendship occur, girls struggle just as much and, in some ways, even more than boys.
The girls in this study were just as likely as boys to report that they would seek revenge against an offending friend, verbally attack the friend and threaten to end the friendship when their expectations were violated, such as telling one of their secrets to other children.
The girls also reported they were more bothered by the transgressions, felt more anger and sadness, and were more likely to think the offense meant their friend did not care about them or was trying to control them.
The study was co-authored by Julie Paquette MacEvoy, a former Duke doctoral student who's now an assistant professor at Boston College's Lynch School of Education, and Steven Asher, a professor in Duke's Department of Psychology & Neuroscience.
MacEvoy and Asher showed 267 fourth- and fifth-grade children 16 hypothetical stories in which they were asked to imagine that a friend violated a core expectation of friendship. These stories included a friend failing to hold up responsibilities in a joint school project, resulting in a bad grade for both friends, and a friend shrugging off the seriousness of another friend's sick pet, saying, "It's no big deal, it's just a pet."
For each story, the 9- to 11-year-olds from Granville County, N.C., and Providence, R.I., were asked how they would feel if the incident really happened to them, how they would interpret the friend's behavior, what they would do and how much the incident would bother them.
"Previous research suggests that girls may hold their friends to a higher standard than boys do, which led us to think that girls might have an especially hard time coping if one of their friends does something to disappoint them," MacEvoy said.
Other studies have suggested that girls are better at friendships than boys because they are more emotionally intimate in their friendships, they help their friends more, and they more readily resolve conflicts with their friends.
Yet previous studies also found that boys' friendships last just as long as those of girls, boys are just as satisfied with their friendships as girls, and boys are no lonelier than girls.
The researchers wanted to test a possible explanation for this paradox: that girls have a particularly difficult time coping when a friend disappoints them.
"Our finding that girls would be just as vengeful and aggressive toward their friends as the boys is particularly interesting because past research has consistently shown boys to react more negatively following minor conflicts with friends, such as an argument about which game to play next," Asher said. "It appears that friendship transgressions and conflicts of interest may push different buttons for boys and girls."
The study found that anger and sadness played significant roles in how boys and girls reacted to offending friends. For both genders, the more strongly they felt a friend had devalued them or was trying to control them, the more anger and sadness they felt.
The angrier they felt, the less likely they wanted to fix the relationship. But feelings of sadness actually motivated both genders toward reconciliation: The more sadness the children reported feeling, the stronger their desire was to want to solve the problem and maintain the friendship.
Sadness, the authors said, can sometimes function like "social glue" that holds relationships together.
The study has implications for how to help children maintain their friendships in a healthy way. This is especially true for girls when a friend is unreliable, doesn't provide emotional support or help, or betrays them, the researchers said.
"When we try to help children who are struggling in their friendships, we may need to focus on somewhat different issues for boys versus girls," MacEvoy said. "For girls, it may be critical to help them learn how to better cope when a friend lets them down."
The children in the study were representative of the regions in which they were located. The sample was also ethnically diverse: 49.3 percent Caucasian, 26.6 percent Latino, 21.5 percent African-American and 2.6 percent "other."
The study, "When Friends Disappoint: Boys' and Girls' Responses to Transgressions of Friendship Expectations," appears online Nov. 22 in the journal Child Development (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-8624/earlyview). Print publication is scheduled for early 2012.
Steve Hartsoe | EurekAlert!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering