This article is based on an unpublished doctoral dissertation submitted to Duke University by the first author. An earlier version of this article was presented at the March 2007 meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, Massachusetts. The research was supported by fellowships awarded to the first author from the Spencer Foundation and from Duke University. We gratefully acknowledge the students and staff at the elementary schools in Granville County, NC and Providence, RI who took part in this research. We also thank Daniel Blalock, Julie Buddensick, Keith Chan, Melanie Dirks, Kristina McDonald, Alison Papadakis, and Elizabeth Van Hooser for their help with data collection, data entry, or consultation on data analysis.
When Friends Disappoint: Boys’ and Girls’ Responses to Transgressions of Friendship Expectations
Article first published online: 22 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Child Development © 2011 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc
Volume 83, Issue 1, pages 104–119, January/February 2012
How to Cite
MacEvoy, J. P. and Asher, S. R. (2012), When Friends Disappoint: Boys’ and Girls’ Responses to Transgressions of Friendship Expectations. Child Development, 83: 104–119. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01685.x
- Issue published online: 25 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 22 NOV 2011
In this study, the prevailing view that girls are pervasively more skilled in their friendships than boys was challenged by examining whether girls respond more negatively than boys when a friend violates core friendship expectations. Fourth- and fifth-grade children (n = 267) responded to vignettes depicting transgressions involving a friend’s betrayal, unreliability, or failure to provide support or help. Results indicated that girls were more troubled by the transgressions, more strongly endorsed various types of negative relationship interpretations of the friend’s actions, and reported more anger and sadness than did boys. Girls also endorsed revenge goals and aggressive strategies just as much as boys. These findings lead to a more complex view of boys’ and girls’ friendship competencies.