There is growing evidence that individuals frequently share good news with others and that these positive event disclosures can predict positive affective outcomes. In the current study, we tested hypotheses regarding gender differences in one type of positive event disclosure: children’s willingness to disclose academic successes to friends. Participants were 524 children living in the Midwestern United States. The sample was divided into two age groups: middle childhood and early adolescence. Consistent with hypotheses, girls were more likely than boys to disclose academic successes to friends. Also consistent with hypotheses, this gender difference was mediated by gender differences in perceived norms and perceived responses. Specifically, girls’ greater willingness to disclose academic successes to friends was partially explained by girls’ greater sense that academic success disclosures are normative and – especially among early adolescents – by girls’ greater sense that academic success disclosures will be met with supportive responses. Contrary to predictions, this gender difference was not mediated by prosocial goals. Although these findings may run contrary to the notion that girls are more likely than boys to adopt a modest self-presentation style, they are consistent with evidence that girls’ friendships are more likely than boys’ to be characterized by features (e.g., validation) that would facilitate positive event disclosures and with evidence that boys are more likely than girls to demonstrate a devaluing of academic achievement and effort. Future research will be important in better understanding how parent, teacher, and peer socialization processes interact to contribute to children’s decision-making regarding academic success disclosures.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 21, 2015
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