Sex Differences in the Solitary and Assaultive Fantasies of Delinquent and Nondelinquent Adolescents
Silver, Rawley, Adolescence
The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in attitudes toward self and others expressed through drawings and stories. An extension of earlier studies, the focus was on delinquent and nondelinquent adolescents who responded to a drawing task: respondents were examined for differences in gender and delinquency, as scored on a rating scale that ranges between strongly negative content, such as drawings about mortal danger, and strongly positive content, such as drawings about loving relationships.
Several studies have found that males focus on independence and competition while females focus on affiliation and relationships (Tannen, 1990; Gilligan, Ward, Taylor, & Bardige, 1988). A study sponsored by the American Association of University Women (1992) found that girls experience a decline in self-esteem during early adolescence.
Stapley and Haviland (1989) found gender differences in the self-reports of emotional experiences by adolescents. Girls experienced emotions in affiliative interactions. Among boys, outer-directed negative emotions predominated whereas inner-directed negative emotions were more characteristic of girls. They also found that gender differences in psychopathology parallel gender differences in normal emotional functioning.
Rhodes and Fisher (1993) found that inner-city adolescents in a court diversion program were more likely than females to engage in aggressive offenses.
Although these investigators depended on verbal interviews and self-reports, drawings can also be used for access to attitudes and fantasies. It is theorized that attitudes evident in verbal conventions can also be evident in visual conventions and that drawings tend to be less guarded than talk. A study of 436 children, adolescents, and adults found that males tend to draw fortunate subjects living in dangerous worlds while females portray their fortunate subjects in pleasant worlds, unfortunate subjects in unpleasant worlds (Silver, 1987). A subsequent study of 531 children, adolescents, and adults also found gender differences in drawings about solitary objects and drawings about interpersonal relationships (Silver, 1993a). Across five age groups, males tended to express negative attitudes toward relationships and showed significantly stable and a higher frequency of drawing about assaultive relationships. Females expressed both positive and negative attitudes toward relationships. Larger proportions of younger adolescent girls …
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Publication information: Article title: Sex Differences in the Solitary and Assaultive Fantasies of Delinquent and Nondelinquent Adolescents. Contributors: Silver, Rawley - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 31. Issue: 123 Publication date: Fall 1996. Page number: 543+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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