Conflict goals associated with adolescent perceptions of relationship expectation violations during conflicts with same-sex friends

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adolescents form relationship expectations within same-sex friendships to serve as guidelines for appropriate behavior, and guidelines are defined according to the intimacy or power expectations that adolescents have of the friendship. Intimacy expectations define appropriate displays of intimacy in the relationship or the degree of intimacy one can demand from another. Power expectations guide behavior by defining the degree of authority one can assert over another or what one can demand from another. Further, the importance of these relationship expectations differs according to gender. Females place more importance on intimacy expectations than males, and males place more importance on power expectations than females. Because adolescent relationship expectations define appropriate behavior, the violation of relationship expectations results in conflict. As a result, the goals adolescents use to resolve the expectation conflict are hypothesized to be associated with their perceptions of the relationship expectation that has been violated. Therefore, the current study examined 1) differences in adolescent perception of expectation violations during interactions with same-sex friends, and 2) differences in the association between adolescent perception of expectations violations and goal responses during interactions with same-sex friends. In the current study, one hundred and seventyseven adolescents (68 grade-8, 54 grade-10, and 55 grade-12 students) responded to a series of vignettes describing a conflict situation with a participant-nominated same-sex friend. A 2 (Gender) X 3 (Grade) MANOVA indicated females reported more intimacy expectation violations than males. Further, grade 8 participants reported more intimacy expectation violations than did grade 12 participants. Grade 12 participants reported more power expectation violations than did grade 8 or grade 10 participants. Multivariate regression procedures indicated that adolescent perceptions of intimacy expectation violations were positively associated with reports of relational goals and negatively associated with reports avoidance goals. Analyses further indicated that gender moderated the association between perception of power expectation violations and reports of control and self-interest goals. Male reports of control and self-interest goals were positively associated with perceptions of power expectation violations. Female reports of these conflict goals were not associated with their perception of power expectation violations. Previous research has provided a description of the goals adolescents employ during conflict with same-sex friends. However, this work only speculates to the factors associated with adolescent use of conflict goals. One possible variable associated with this conflict behavior is the perceived violation of relationship expectations. Findings from the current study suggest that understanding the gender differences in perceptions of expectation violations and the association between expectation violations and goal nominations can assist in clarifying differences in adolescent conflict behavior seen during interactions with their same-sex friends. Violations of intimacy expectations are associated with conflict goals aimed at establishing closeness in the relationship, and violations of power expectations are associated with conflict goals aimed at re-establishing control within relationship. Therefore, an important component in understanding how adolescents select goals during conflicts with same-sex friends is examining what relationship expectation adolescents perceive as being violated by their friend.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPsychology of Coping
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages41-63
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781536135763
ISBN (Print)9781594542831
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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