Gender Beliefs and Quality of Friendships

January 22, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Sociology, Globalization
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Gender Beliefs and Quality of Friendships Amongst Adolescents in Urban India Karla Herrera Department of Applied Psychology, New York University



SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS  As children enter adolescence, friendships form a core component of their development (Way & Pahl, 2001; Way & Greene, 2006).

 Delhi is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest metropolis by population in India.

 Friendships are defined as intimate connections associated with trust, help, companionship, closeness and security (Bukowski, Hoza, & Bovin, 1994).

 Largest commercial center in northern India.

 Boys’ and girls’ quality of friendship is influenced by the prevailing gender norms that exist in their culture (Brown & Gilligan, 1992; Santos, 2010; Way, 2011).


 Gender norms dictate the way individuals behave in their relationships.  Masculine norms, especially in patriarchal cultures, might prevent young men and women from developing high quality friendships particularly because these norms (such as autonomy) expect people to disconnect from relationships in the first place (Way, 2011).  Few researchers have examined quality of friendships across different cultures (Hirsch & DuBois, 1990; Way & Greene, 2006).

 Population: more than 12.25 million inhabitants.

 The data for the present study were drawn from the first wave of a longitudinal study (N = 255) conducted by Taveeshi Gupta and Dr. Niobe Way in New Delhi, India.

Step 3 Masculine gender-typed behavior x Type of Friends

Q3. Does having more friends of the same gender moderate this relation?

Name of Measure



Even when something in bothering me, it is important to act like nothing is wrong around my friends.

∝ = .73

Gupta et al., under review)

1 (Strongly agree) to 4 (Strongly disagree) Networks of Relationship Inventory

∝ = .75

1 (Little or none) to 5 (The most) “When you think of your friends, are there more guys or girls?”

Gender of Friends




Mean Values


4 3



 that boys adhered to masculine gender-typed behaviors more so than did girls.  With regards to friendship quality, children who adhered more strongly to gender-typed masculine behaviors experienced lower friendship quality.  These findings corroborate those of previous studies (Gupta et al., in press; Santos, 2010; Way, 2011) showing that adolescents who are raised to adhere to masculine gender-typed behaviors not only experience negative friendship quality but also report lower levels of quality of life (Way, 2011).

 Results of this study indicate that, despite globalization trends and the westernization of India (especially in urban areas), traditional gender norms are still upheld and permeate the relationships of the younger generation (Bhogle, 1999).

 Thus, the present study underscores the importance of international research as they provide a more holistic picture of adolescent's social and emotional development. This is particularly important in answering the call of the missing 95% in psychological research (Arnett, 2008).

0 Gender-Typed Masculine Behaviors

Quality of Friendship

Figure 1. Means for Quality of Friendship and Gender-Typed Masculine Behaviors

 Boys adhered more strongly to gender-typed masculine behavior than did girls, t(249) = 4.706, p < .001)


 Like much of the previous literature (e.g., Way, 1995; Way & Greene, 2006), results of the present study showed:

 Findings of this and other U.S. studies document the pervasive nature of the “connection crisis” (Way, 2011) young men and women are experiencing across the world.

 Boys experienced lower quality of friendship than did girls, t(250) = -4.165, p < .001. GENDER TYPED MASCULINE BEHAVIOR


 It is, thus, possible that societal masculine gender norms require both young men and women to behave in ways that do not align with what individuals need to develop closeness, security, and intimacy (Brown & Gilligan, 1992).





 that girls experienced higher levels of quality of friendship than did boys.

How much do you and your friend argue?


H3. Gender of friends will moderate the relation between gender-typed masculine behavior and quality of friendship, such that having more samesex friends will intensify the negative relation between the two variables.

.08 (1, 197)

 Findings also indicated that there was no moderation effect of gender of friend on the relation between gender-typed behaviors and quality of friendship.


H2. Adhering to masculine gender-typed behaviors will be associated with poor friendship quality.



 In July and August 2010, participants were asked, during school hours, to fill out a survey regarding school life, friendships and home life.

 There are also marked socio-economic and caste differences in how individuals relate to one another. The presence of a “peer culture,” for instance, is more apparent among middle and upper class Indian adolescents (Verma & Saraswathi, 2002).

Q2. What is the relation between gender-typed beliefs and quality of close friendship among urban Indian adolescents?



(Furman & Buhrmester, 1985)

H1. Students from low SES families will adhere strongly to gender-typed masculine behavior, whereas students from high SES families will report better friendship quality.


 Results indicated that adhering to gender-typed masculine behaviors was associated with poor quality of friendship.

Adherence to Gender-Typed Beliefs in Relationships Scale (Santos, 2010;

H1. Boys will adhere more strongly to gendertyped masculine behavior, whereas girls will report better friendship quality.


Note: a Male is the reference group ***p < .001

 21.2% of the adolescents were from government-funded schools, 20.4% were from low SES private schools; 34.9% were from middle SES schools, and the remaining 23.5% were from high SES schools.

 In India, there are explicit gender norms dictating appropriate behaviors for boys and girls. Deviations from these norms are not readily accepted. Very little is known about the ways in which these gender norms might influence friendship quality among adolescents.

Q1. Are there any significant gender or social class differences in gendertyped beliefs or close friendship quality?

Table 1. Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis for Variables Predicting Quality of Friendship B β R2 ∆R2 F (df1, df2) Step 1 .08 17.0 (1,200)*** Gendera .38*** .28 Step 2 .22 .14 18.2 (2, 198)*** Masculine Gender-Typed Behaviors -.58*** -.40 Type of friends

 46.7% of the participants were male, and participants had a mean age of 11.86 (SD = .50).

 The current study explored the quality of friendship among young adolescents in urban India.



 No significant social class differences for gender-typed masculine behaviors or quality of friendship were found.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I would like thank Taveeshi Gupta for guiding me through this process and helping me become a “resistor.” I would also like to thank Dr. Niobe Way; her work has guided me and opened up my eyes in more ways than I could ever imagine. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Gigliana Melzi and Kristin Lees, for this project would not have been possible without their help and support.

CONTACT INFORMATION Karla Herrera: [email protected]

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