Academic journal article Child Study Journal

Grade and Gender Differences in the Association between Adolescents' Perceptions of Boundary Violations and Goal Nominations during Conflict with Cross-Sex Friends

Academic journal article Child Study Journal

Grade and Gender Differences in the Association between Adolescents' Perceptions of Boundary Violations and Goal Nominations during Conflict with Cross-Sex Friends

Article excerpt

Power and intimacy boundaries clarify the equality and closeness of friendships and are hypothesized to be associated with differences in conflict goal responses when violated. Responses by one hundred and seventy-seven adolescents (68 grade-8, 54 grade-10, and 55 grade-12 students) to a series of vignettes describing a conflict situation with a cross-sex friend were analyzed to determine grade and gender differences in the association between perceived boundary violations and conflict goal reports. Examination of participant boundary and goal responses indicated adolescents' perceptions of intimacy boundary violations were associated with reports of relational and avoidance goals. Further, grade and gender moderated the association between perception of power boundary violations and reports of control and relational goals. Findings from the current study support the hypothesis that perceptions of boundary violations are associated with adolescent reports of conflict and assist in explaining grade and gender differences in adolescent reports of conflict goals used during hypothetical conflicts with cross-sex friends.

**********

Relationship boundaries define appropriate behavior between individuals during interpersonal interactions (La Voie, Johnson, Mahoney, Ramet, & Anderson, 1998; Zak, Hunton, Kuhn, & Parks, 1997), and influence behavior by establishing guidelines for appropriate and inappropriate behavior (Sroufe, Bennett, Englund, Urban, & Shulman, 1993). As cross-sex friendships develop during adolescence, the formation of boundaries becomes influential in defining appropriate behaviors within these interactions. According to Emery (1992), boundaries are defined according to intimacy and power expectations. These expectations guide behavior by defining either appropriate displays of intimacy in the relationship and the amount of intimacy one can demand from another or the degree of authority one can assert over another and the degree to which one can demand from another. Further, Emery (1992) states that violations of power and intimacy boundaries are associated with violations of relationship expectations, which results in conflict. Therefore, boundary violations are associated with conflict interactions, and conflict that occurs within the context of close relationships reflects "intimacy or power struggles" (Emery, 1992, p. 270).

Boundaries in Adolescent Relationships

Intimacy boundaries. An important boundary that adolescents develop in the formation of their friendships involves intimacy (Clark & Bittle, 1992; Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 1998), and Sullivan (1953) notes that male and female adolescents develop friendships to meet their needs for intimacy (e.g., mutual empathy, love, and security). Adolescents' desire for intimacy in their friendships directs them to structure relationship boundaries around the sharing of thoughts and feelings as well as increasing social support for one another (Buhrmester & Furman, 1987; Furman & Buhrmester, 1992). Therefore, these boundaries define appropriate displays of intimacy in the relationship and the amount of intimacy one can demand from another without violating relationship expectations. Achieving intimacy within cross-sex friendships is an integral aspect of adolescent development (Sullivan, 1953), and it increases from middle childhood to adolescence (Collins & Repinski, 1994; Rubin et al., 1998). Clark and Ayers (1993) and Clark and Bittle (1992) report that female adolescents stress the importance of maintaining intimacy and expect more intimacy in their friendships than do males. Further, adolescent females have more intimate interactions with friends than do males (Collins & Repinski, 1994) and indicate more comfort than males during intimate interactions (Foot, Chapman, & Smith, 1997). Although males increasingly report a desire for intimacy in their friendships across adolescence, the level of intimacy within adolescent male friendships does not approach the level seen in female friendships (Buhrmester & Furman, 1987). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.