Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

Friendship Satisfaction in Korean and Canadian University Students

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

Friendship Satisfaction in Korean and Canadian University Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

Two studies explored predictors of friendship satisfaction (viewed here as high positive feelings and low negative feelings) in Korean and Canadian university students. Study 1 investigated friendship functions and conflict resolution styles; Study 2 investigated if cross-cultural differences in friendship expectations and collectivism account for observed differences in friendship variables. Canadian students fulfilled more friendship functions, and Korean students reported more asymmetrical conflict management, but the differences were generally not significant after controlling for friendship expectations and collectivism. In both countries, friendship satisfaction was similarly associated with fulfillment of friendship functions and egalitarian conflict management.

Resume

Deux etudes ont explore les predicteurs de satisfaction avec l'amitie (percus ici comme des sentiments hautement positifs ou faiblement negatifs) chez des etudiants universitaires coreens et canadiens. La premiere a porte sur les fonctions de l'amitie et les styles de resolution des conflits; dans la deuxieme etude on a examine si les differences observees dans les variables en amitie etaient attribuables aux differences transculturelles dans les attentes envers l'amitie et le collectivisme. Les etudiants canadiens ont rempli un plus grand nombre de fonctions de l'amitie et les etudiants coreens ont manifeste une plus grande gestion asymetrique des conflits, mais les differences n'ont pas ete generalement significatives apres le controle des attentes envers l'amitie et le collectivisme. Dans les deux pays, la satisfaction avec l'amitie etait associee de maniere semblable a l'execution des fonctions de l'amitie et de la gestion egalitaire des conflits.

Maintaining any relationship involves the resolution of basic dilemmas: dependence versus independence, integration versus separation, and closeness versus distance (Fehr, 1996). Thus, social relationships, such as friendships, that include both giving and receiving support generate dialectic tensions between autonomy and dependence (La Gaipa, 1990; Rawlins, 1998). Nonetheless, social interactions between friends and the dialectical tension therein are presumably regulated by rules that are developed through personal experience and socialized in a culture. Such rules may be measured directly (e.g., Henderson & Argyle, 1986), but they can also be inferred from the aspects of a friendship that account for satisfaction with the relationship - for example, the functions served by it and how the friends deal with conflict. Moreover, cross-cultural comparisons of the sources of friendship satisfaction may provide clues to differences in rules that regulate friendship as well as to rules that are particularly essential to the relationship.

General well-being is not a unitary construct, but comprises two independent dimensions - positive and negative feelings (Bradburn, 1969) - which together likely adequately tap friendship satisfaction. Positive feelings are defined in the present research as affection toward a specific friend and contentment with the relationship. Negative feelings refer here to feelings for a friend related to conflict (e.g., quarrel-someness and disagree bleness), relative incompetence (e.g., inferiority and jealousy), or lack of closeness (e.g., aloofness and uncertainty).

Friendship satisfaction presumably reflects high positive, and low negative, feelings. In the present research, which involved Korean and Canadian university students, positive and negative feelings for best friends were examined in terms of the fulfillment of friendship functions and of conflict-resolution styles. The term best friends is used here in its colloquial sense to refer to the category of close friends. The present research focused on best friends, because they presumably have more characteristics that foster friendship satisfaction than do other friends (e. …

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