Title of Abstract

Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Differences in ​Friendship Quality and Conflict Resolution

Poster Number

18

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.; sleighm@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

Abstract

Cross-sex friendships are common during young adulthood. Yet, they vary widely and are vulnerable to misunderstanding, even by the friends themselves. We examined how cross- and same-sex friends responded to different types of relationship conflict. We hypothesized that same-sex friends would respond more negatively to conflict than would cross-sex friends. Young adult participants (n= 127) were primarily women (64%) and equally divided between African American (41%) and Caucasian (39%). Participants were randomly prompted to either think of their closest same-sex or opposite sex friend and then to respond to the McGill Friendship Questionnaire. Participants then encountered three conflict scenarios (hurtful remark, social exclusion, betrayed secret) and asked how they would respond if these occurred with the imagined friend. Our hypothesis was not supported. We did not find differences in friendships based solely on the gender match or mismatch of the friendship. Instead we found that men were very sensitive about a female friend making a hurtful comment or socially excluding him. Neither gender was surprised by a male friend being socially exclusive. Despite these findings, how adults reacted to the friendship scenarios depended more on their gender than on the gender of their friend. In general, women were more upset by our conflict scenarios than were men and felt it was important to help their friend see their point of view. Age and race were not predictive of friendship perceptions. These findings add to our understanding of this common experience of young adulthood.

Course Assignment

PSYC 302 - Sleigh

Other Presentations/Performances

Southeastern Psychological Conference, Virtual, March 2021

Type of Presentation

Poster presentation

Start Date

16-4-2021 11:30 AM

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Apr 16th, 11:30 AM

Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Differences in ​Friendship Quality and Conflict Resolution

Cross-sex friendships are common during young adulthood. Yet, they vary widely and are vulnerable to misunderstanding, even by the friends themselves. We examined how cross- and same-sex friends responded to different types of relationship conflict. We hypothesized that same-sex friends would respond more negatively to conflict than would cross-sex friends. Young adult participants (n= 127) were primarily women (64%) and equally divided between African American (41%) and Caucasian (39%). Participants were randomly prompted to either think of their closest same-sex or opposite sex friend and then to respond to the McGill Friendship Questionnaire. Participants then encountered three conflict scenarios (hurtful remark, social exclusion, betrayed secret) and asked how they would respond if these occurred with the imagined friend. Our hypothesis was not supported. We did not find differences in friendships based solely on the gender match or mismatch of the friendship. Instead we found that men were very sensitive about a female friend making a hurtful comment or socially excluding him. Neither gender was surprised by a male friend being socially exclusive. Despite these findings, how adults reacted to the friendship scenarios depended more on their gender than on the gender of their friend. In general, women were more upset by our conflict scenarios than were men and felt it was important to help their friend see their point of view. Age and race were not predictive of friendship perceptions. These findings add to our understanding of this common experience of young adulthood.