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Gender Differences in the Links Among Friendship Characteristics and Aggressive Behavior Todd D. Little & Noel A. Card Key Collaborators: Jessica Brauner.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender Differences in the Links Among Friendship Characteristics and Aggressive Behavior Todd D. Little & Noel A. Card Key Collaborators: Jessica Brauner."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender Differences in the Links Among Friendship Characteristics and Aggressive Behavior Todd D. Little & Noel A. Card Key Collaborators: Jessica Brauner Edward Dill Bridgit Gamm Patricia H. Hawley Christopher C. Henrich Stephanie M. Jones Emily Ledford Matthew Nock Symposium Presentation at the Society for Research in Adolescence Meeting, March, 2004

2 Road Map Rationale for the Study Brief Overview of the Unified Model of Aggression Methods Relations of aggression with friendship characteristics Moderation by friendship length

3 Rationale Integrate work on adolescent friendships with work on adolescent aggression  The handful of studies show inconsistent results Examine the relationships in the context of gender normative vs. gender non-normative aggression  e.g., overt/physical aggression is normative for boys but non-normative for girls Examine length of friendship as a likely moderator  Friendships that have endured for more than a year are likely to be more concordant than new, unproven, friendships

4 Inconsistent Findings Rys & Bear (1997)  Overt aggression in 3 rd -graders was correlated with fewer reciprocated friendships, but not in 6 th -grade  Relationally aggressive 3 rd -grade boys had fewer reciprocated friendships Sebanc (2003)  No relationship on # of friends in sample of preschoolers.  Higher conflict in friendships  Relational aggression = higher closeness Poulin & Boivin (1999, 2000)  No relationship on # of friends in sample of 3 rd – 6 th -grade boys (did not study girls) Grotpeter & Crick (1996) Relational aggression = higher closeness Overt aggression = lower closeness

5 Overt Reactive Overt Instrumental Relational Reactive Relational Instrumental Overt (Dispositional) Relational (Dispositional) A Unifying Model of Aggression From Little, Jones et al., 2003

6 ReactiveInstrumentalReactiveInstrumental Overt (Dispositional) Relational (Dispositional) A Unifying Model of Aggression From Little, Jones et al., 2003

7 ReactiveInstrumentalReactiveInstrumental Overt (Dispositional) Relational (Dispositional) ReactiveInstrumental A Unifying Model of Aggression From Little, Jones et al., 2003

8 Overt (Dispositional) Relational (Dispositional) ReactiveInstrumental A Unifying Model of Aggression From Little, Jones et al., 2003

9 Sample 1,503 6 th -9 th grade students from U.S.  Average age 12.1 (sd 1.2) 1271 Same-sex reciprocated friendship dyads Urban district of greater New Haven (Hamden) Approximately equal numbers of boys & girls SES: lower to upper-middle class Ethnicity:  68.2% Euro-American,  15.4% African-American,  6.8 % Hispanic-American,  9.6% other Assessed in October of 1998

10 Measures Self-report measure of aggression (Little, Jones et al., 2003)  Instrumental and Reactive functions Peer-nomination of aggression (10 nominations)  Overt and Relational forms Friendship Inventory (Little, Brendgen et al., 1999)  Closeness  Conflict  Overt victimization within friendship  Relational victimization within friendship  Friendship length ( 1 year)

11 Intercorrelations among variables in study OvertRelationalInstrumentalReactive Note: Boys’ correlations are above the diagonal, Girls’ are below Girls are coded 0 and Boys are coded 1; ** p <.01, *** p <.001 Form (Peer Report)Function (Self Report)

12 Predicting friendship characteristics among boys OvertRelationalInstrumental ReactiveR2R2 Peer ReportSelf Report Values of individual predictors are standardized regression coefficients * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

13 Predicting Boys’ Friendship Characteristics by Friendship Length Overt Relat Instr React New FriendsOld Friends Values of individual predictors are standardized regression coefficients * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

14 Predicting friendship characteristics among girls OvertRelationalInstrumental ReactiveR2R2 Peer ReportSelf Report Values of individual predictors are standardized regression coefficients * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

15 Predicting Girls’ Friendship Characteristics by Friendship Length Overt Relat Instr React New FriendsOld Friends Values of individual predictors are standardized regression coefficients * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

16 Conclusions & Future Directions The associations vary as a function of aggression type, gender, and length of friendship: For boys, relational (non-normative?) aggression went along with conflictual aspects of the friendship For girls, both normative and non-normative aggression went along with conflict, but normative (relational) aggression went along with intimacy. For both boys and girls, overt aggression went with lower % old friends and # of friends, but relational aggression went with higher % and # of friends The moderation by length of friendship was pronounced in girls For new friends, friendship characteristics were predicted by Overt aggression. For old friends they were predicted by Relational aggression


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