Much has been written about the low self-esteem of adolescent girls relative to adolescent boys, but little research has explored the role that friendship quality may play in affecting self-esteem. Ninety-seven female and 67 male 11th and 12th graders completed measures of self-esteem and of friendship quality with both same- and cross-gender best friends. Ninety-five percent of the participants were White, and ranged across the socioeconomic spectrum with the majority coming from middle-class families. We found that girls' self-esteem was significantly lower than boys' self-esteem and that girls rated their relationships as stronger, more interpersonally rewarding, and more stressful than boys did. Boys reported that their friendship with their best female friend was more interpersonally rewarding than their friendship with their best male friend, whereas girls rated the quality of their same- and cross-gender friends similarly. As expected, girls' self-esteem was positively correlated with the friendship quality of their cross-gender best friend. However, their self-esteem was not correlated with the quality of their same-gender friendship. Boys' self-esteem did not correlate with the quality of their same- or cross-gender best friendship. Results may help us understand the relatively low self-esteem experienced by adolescent girls.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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